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Q. SEPTIMII FLORENTIS TERTULLIANI

DE BAPTISMO LIBER

 

 

 

 


SIGLA

T Codex Trecensis 523 (saec. xij).
B Editio Martini Mesnartii (Lutetiae, 1545, qui liber
impressus codicis manu scripti instar habet.
Gel. Editio Sigismundi Gelenii (Basiliae, 1550).
Pam. Editio Iacobi Pamelii (Antverpiae, 1579).
Iun. Editio Francisci Iunii (Franekerae, 1597)
Rig. Editio Nicolai Rigaltii (Lutetiae, 1634).
Oeh. Editio maior Francisci Oehleri (Lipsiae, 1853).
Rfd. Editio Reifferscheid-Wissowa (Vindobonae, 1890).
d'Alés Editio A. d'Alés (Romae, 1933).
Refoulé Editio viri reverendi R. F. Refoulé, O.P. (Parisiis, 1952).
Brf. Editio viri docti J. G. Ph. Borleffs (Hagae Comitis,
1948: Turnholti, 1952): cui grato animo iterum ea
accepta referimus quae in apparatu critico adnotanda
censuimus.


Coniecturae quoque citantur Latini Latinii (Romae, 1583), Fulvii
Ursini (Francofurti, 1603), Aemilii Kroymann (Oeniponte, 1894).


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Q. SEPTIMII FLORENTIS TERTULLIANI
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CAP. 1. [1] De Sacramento aquae nostrae qua ablutis delictis pristinae
caecitatis in vitam aeternam liberamur non erit otiosum digestum
istud, instruens tam eos qui cum maxime formantur quam et illos
qui simpliciter credidisse contenti, non exploratis rationibus
traditionum, temptabilem fidem per imperitiam portant. [2] atque, 
adeo nuper conversata istic quaedam de caina haeresi vipera
venenatissima doctrina sua plerosque rapuit, imprimis baptismum
destruens. plane secundum naturam: nam fere viperae et aspides
ipsique reguli serpentes arida et inaquosa sectantur. [3] sed nos 
pisciculi secundum i0xqu\n nostrum Iesum Christum in aqua
nascimur, nec aliter quam in aqua permanendo salvi sumus.
itaque illa monstrosissima, cui nec integre quidem docendi ius
erat, optime norat necare pisciculos de aqua auferens.

CAP. 2.  [1] Sedenim quanta vis est perversitatis ad fidem labefactandam
vel in totum non recipiendam, ut ex his eam impugnet ex quibus
constat. nihil adeo est quod obduret mentes hominum quam
simplicitas divinorum operum quae in actu videtur, et magni-
ficentia quae in effectu repromittitur. et hinc quoque, quoniam
tanta simplicitate, sine pompa sine apparatu novo aliquo, denique
sine sumptu, homo in aqua demissus et inter pauca verba tinctus
non multo vel nihilo mundior resurgit, eo incredibilis existimatur
consecutio aeternitatis. [2] mentior si non e contrario idolorum

I: 2 Felix sacramentum...quia...liberamur. B.
    4 simpliciter B: similiter T.
    5 intentatam probabilem B.      imperitiam B: imperia iam T.
    6 Caina Harnack: canina T: Gaiana B.
    8 nam om. T     fere Latinius: ferae BT.
   11 nascamur B.
   12 itaque illa BT: ita Quintilla Gelenius(falso).
2: 4 videtur Urs.: videntur BT (forsan recte).
    5 et hinc T: ut hinc B: quaero an scribendum ut hic.
    6 aliquando T Brf.
    9 e contrario om. T Brf.


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TERTULLIAN ON BAPTISM
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1. This discussion of the sacred significance of that water of ours
in which the sins of our original blindness are washed away and
we are set at liberty unto life eternal, will not be without purpose
if it provides equipment for those who are at present under instruc-
tion, as well as those others who, content to have believed in
simplicity, have not examined the reasons for what has been
conferred upon them, and because of inexperience are burdened
with a faith which is open to temptation. And in fact a certain
female viper from the Cainite sect, who recently spent some time
here, carried off a good number with her exceptionally pestilen-
tial doctrine, making a particular point of demolishing baptism.
Evidently in this according to nature: for vipers and asps as a rule,
and even basilisks, frequent dry and waterless places. But we,
being little fishes, as Jesus Christ is our great Fish, begin our
life in the water, and only while we abide in the water are we safe
and sound. Thus it was that that portent of a woman, who had
no right to teach even correctly,1 knew very well how to kill
the little fishes by taking them out of the water.

2. But take note of the violence on which perversity relies for
undermining the faith or even precluding its acceptance, as it
uses the elements it consists of as weapons to attack it with. There
is indeed nothing which so hardens men's minds as the simplicity
of God's works as they are observed in action, compared with
the magnificence promised in their effects. So in this case too,
because with such complete simplicity, without display, without
any unusual equipment, and (not least) without anything to pay,
a man is sent down into the water, is washed to the accompani-
ment of very few words, and comes up little or no cleaner than
he was, his attainment to eternity is regarded as beyond belief.
On the contrary, if I mistake not, the solemn ceremonies, or even
the secret rites, of idolatry work up for themselves credence and

1. Cf. 1 Tim. 2. 12.


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sollemnia vel arcana de suggestu et apparatu deque sumptu fidem
et auctoritatem sibi extruunt. pro misera incredulitas, quae
denegas deo proprietates suas, simplicitatem et potestatem. quid
ergo? nonne mirandum est lavacro dilui mortem? quia miran-
dum est, idcirco non creditur? atquin eo magis credendum est:
qualia enim decet esse opera divina nisi super omnem admira-
tionem? nos quoque ipsi miramur, sed quia credimus. ceterum
incredulitas miratur quia non credit: miratur enim simplicia quasi
vana, magnifica quasi impossibilia. .[3] et sit plane ut putas: satis
ad utrumque divina pronuntiatio praecucurrit: Stulta mundi
elegit deus ut confundat sapientiam eius: et, Quae difficilia penes
homines facilia penes deum. nam si deus et sapiens et potens,
quod etiam praetereuntes eum non negant, merito in adversis
sapientiae potentiaeque, id est in stultitia et impossibilitate,
materias operationis suae instituit: quoniam virtus omnis ex his 
causam accipit a quibus provocatur.

CAP. 3.  [1] Huius memores pronuntiationis tanquam praescriptionis,
nihilo minus quam stultum et impossibile sit aqua reformari
tractamus. quod utique ista materia tantae dignationis meruit
officium, ut opinor auctoritas liquidi elementi exigenda est.
atquin plurima suppetit, et quidem a primordio. [2] nam unum ex
his est quae ante omnem mundi suggestum impolita adhuc specie
penes deum quiescebant in principio. In primordio, inquit, fecit
deus caelum et terram: terra autem erat invisibilis et incomposita,
et tenebrae erant super abyssum, et spiritus dei ferebatur super
aquas. habes, homo, imprimis aetatem venerari aquarum, quod
antiqua substantia; dehinc dignationem, quod divini spiritus sedes,
gratior scilicet ceteris tunc elementis. nam et tenebrae totae
adhuc sine cultu siderum informes, et tristis abyssus et terra
imparata et caelum rude : solus liquor, semper materia perfecta

   13 est T: et B.
   13 sqq. quia mirandum, etc. T, sed post creditur quaerendi signum ego ponebam:
        penes B totes locus mirum in modem conturbatus est. 
   16 quia om. T.
   17 quia non credit T: quia om. B.
   19 praecurrit T
   20 sapientia mavult Brf.       quae difficilia T: praedifficilia B.

3: 3 tractemus T.       quid utique, etc. B, interrogandi signo post officium addito.
    7 in primordio om. B, periodo post quiescebant facta
    8 deus om. T.
    9 dei T: domini B.      super aquas ferebatur B.

ON BAPTISM

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prestige by pretentious magnificence and by the fees that are 
charged. O that poverty-stricken unbelief, which denies to God 
his characteristic attributes, simplicity and power ! Well then, is 
it not a marvel that by bathing death is washed away? Because 
it is a marvel, is that a reason for not believing it? Nay rather, 
it is so much the more to be believed. For of what quality ought 
God's works to be if not beyond all admiration? We too marvel: 
but this is because we believe. Unbelief however marvels, and 
refuses to believe: it marvels at simple things as ineffective, at 
sublime things as impossible. Suppose in fact it is as you think: 
sufficient for both is God's pronouncement made long ago : God 
hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound its wisdom
:
and, Things that are difficult in the sight of men are easy in the sight of 
God
.2 For if God is both wise and powerful, as even those who 
pass him by are prepared to admit, quite justifiably has he estab- 
lished the materials he works with in foolishness and incapability,
the opposites of wisdom and power: because every good quality
takes its initiative from those <opposites> by which it is challenged.

3   We keep this pronouncement in mind as a standing rule, while
none the less discussing whether or not it is foolish, and whether
impossible, for reformation to be brought about by water. Since
in fact that substance has had conferred upon it a function of such
high dignity, I suppose we need to ask what is the significance
of the liquid element. It has indeed a very high one, ever since
the beginning. For it is one of those elements which before the
world was at all brought into order, were in still unpolished form
ín the beginning at rest with God. In the beginning, it says, God
made the heaven and the earth: but the earth was invisible and dis-
composed, and there was darkness over the deep, and the Spirit of God
was borne upon the waters
.3 You are bound, my friend, to have in
reverence first the antiquity of the waters, that they are an ancient
thing, and then the honour done them, that they are the resting
place of the Spirit of God, more pleasing to him at that time than
the other elements. For the darkness was as yet wholly formless,
still without the adornment of the stars, the depth morose, the
earth unready, and the sky unshapen: only the liquid, a material
1 1 Cor. 1. 27.   2 Cf. Luke 18. 27.     3 Gen. 1. 1, 2.


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laeta simplex de suo pura, dignum vectaculum deo subiciebat.
[3] quid quod exinde dispositio mundi modulatricibus quodammodo
aquis deo constitit? nam ut firmamentum caeleste suspenderet in
medietate, distinctis aquis fecit; ut terram aridam expanderet,
segregaris aquis expediit. [4] ordinato dehinc per elementa mundo 
cum incolae darentur, primis aquis praeceptum est animas
producere : primus liquor quod viveret edidit, ne mirum sit in
baptismo si aquae animare noverunt. [5] non enim ipsius quoque 
hominis figulandi opus sociantibus aquis absolutum est? adsumpta
est de terra materia [convenit], non tamen habilis nisi humecta et
sucida, quam scilicet ante quartum diem segregatae aquae in
stationem suam superstite humore limo temperarant. [6] si exinde 
universa vel plura prosequar quae de elementi istius auctoritate
commemorem, quanta vis eius aut gratia, quot ingenia quot 
officia quantum instrumenti mundo ferat, vereor ne laudes aquae 
potius quam baptismi rationes videar congregasse: licet eo plenius
docerem non esse dubitandum si materiam quam in omnibus rebus
et operibus suis deus disposuit, etiam in sacramentis propriis parere
fecit, si quae vitam terrenam gubernat etiam caelestia procura.

CAP. 4.
   [1] Sed ea satis erit praecerpsisse in quibus et ratio baptismi
recognoscitur prima illa quae iam tunc etiam ipso habitu
praenotabatur ad baptismi figuram, dei spiritum qui ab initio
super aquas vectabatur super aquas intinctorem moraturum.

 

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consistit T.
expanderet T: suspenderet B.
producere T: proferre B.
figulandi Rig.: figurandi BT.       absolutum est B: adsumpta est (omisso
convenit) T.    lectiones coniunxit d'Alés.
habili B.
temperarant Latinius: temperat T: temperant B.
instrumentum B.
baptismo T.
docere T.
terrenam Urs.: aeternam BT.       etiam caelestia T: et in caelesti B: etiam
caelesti Brf.
4:  1-4
1
2
3
4
Sed ea ... moraturum: hunc locum ita pungendum censebam.
ad ea T.         praeripuisse T.
prima illa qui T Brf.
baptismi figurandi T Brf.
super aquas (priore vice) om. B.       instinctorem T Brf.

 


ON BAPTISM

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always perfect, joyous, simple, of its own nature pure, laid down
there a worthy carriage for God <to move upon>. Next after
that also God's ordering of the world was in a sort of way carried
out by regulative waters: for by dividing the waters he brought
about the suspension of the firmament of heaven in the midst,
and by gathering the waters aside <into one place> he accom-
plished the spreading out of the dry land.1 Thereafter, when the
world had had its constituents set in order, and inhabitants began
to be given to it, it was the waters first which were commanded
to bring forth living things:2 the liquid was the first to bring forth
that which should have life, so that in baptism it need be no
wonder if waters already know how to make alive. And was not
also the task even of forming man accomplished with waters in
partnership?3 Matter was taken up from the earth: yet it was
only workable through being moistened and wet - the earth in
fact which the waters, when gathered aside into their own place
four days before, had modified into mud by the moisture left
behind. If I go on to tell of all or most of the things I could relate
concerning the significance of this element, the greatness of its
power or its favour, with all the devices, all the functions, all
the equipment it supplies the world with, I fear I should seem to
have composed a panegyric on water in preference to the doctrine
of baptism: though even so, I should be explaining more fully
that there is no room for doubt whether God has brought into
service in his very own sacraments that same material which he
has had at his disposal in all his acts and works, and whether this
which is the guide of earthly life makes provision of heavenly
things besides.

4   But it will suffice that I have made a brief selection of those
facts in which the rationale of baptism is in evidence, especially
that primary one which even so long ago was by their relative
position made a prophetic indication and type of baptism, namely
that the Spirit of God, who since the beginning was borne
upon the waters,4 would as baptizer abide upon waters. A holy

1 Cf. Gen. 1. 6, 7.      2 Cf. Gen. 1. 20.       3 Cf. Gen. 2. 7.
4 Cf. Gen. 1. 2.


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sanctum autem utique super sanctum ferebatur, aut ab eo quod
superferebatur id quod ferebat sanctitatem mutuabatur, quoniam
subiecta quaeque materia eius quae desuper imminet qualitatem
rapiat necesse est, maxime corporalis spiritalem et penetrare et in-
sidere facilem per substantiae suae subtilitatem. ita de sancto sancti-
ficata natura aquarum et ipsa sanctificare concepit. [2] ne quis ergo 
dicat, 'numquid ipsis enim aquis tinguimur quae tunc in primor-
dio fuerunt?' non utique ipsis, si non ex ea parte ipsis qua genus
quidem unum, species vero complures. quod autem generi
attributum est etiam in species redundat. [3] ideoque nulla distinctio
est mari quis an stagno, flumine an fonte, lacu an alveo diluatur,
nec quicquam refert inter eos quos Ioannes in Iordane et quos
Petrus in Tiberi tinxit: nisi si et ille spado quem Philippus inter
vias fortuita aqua tint plus salutis aut minus rettulit. [4] igitur 
omnes aquae de pristina originis praerogativa sacramentum
sanctificationis consequuntur invocato deo. supervenit enim
statim spiritus de caelis et aquis superest sanctificans eas de
semetipso, et ita sanctificatae vim sanctificandi combibunt. [5] quan-
quam ad simplicem actum competat similitudo, ut quoniam vice
sordium delictis inquinamur aquis abluamur. sed delicta sicut in
carne non comparent, quia nemo super cutem portat maculas
idololatriae aut stupri aut fraudis, ita et eiusmodi in spiritu
sordent, qui est auctor delicti: spiritus enim dominatur, caro famu-
latur. tamen utrumque inter se communicant reatum, spiritus ob
imperium, caro ob ministerium. igitur medicatis quodammodo
aquis per angeli interventum et spiritus in aquis corporaliter
diluitur et caro in eisdem spiritaliter emundatur.
  
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25
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id quod ferebat om. T.
sublimitatem T.
ne quis ergo T: nemo B.
enim ... tunc om. T.
ipsis si non Brf.: ipsi nisi B: ipsis non T.         ipsis (post parte) om. B.
in specie B.
an (prima vice et secunda) om. T.
Tiberim T.       ille om. T Brf.
post combibunt add. T ut enim sordes in corpore apparent ita vice sordium
aquis abluuntur: B vero addidit vice sordium aquis abluantur: et hoc et
illud delendum fuerat
.
maculam B.
mundatur B.

 


ON BAPTISM

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thing in fact was carried upon a holy thing - or rather, that
which carried acquired holiness from that which was carried
upon it. Any matter placed beneath another is bound to take to
itself the quality of that which is suspended over it: and especially
must corporal matter take up spiritual quality, which because of
the subtlety of the substance it belongs to finds it easy to penetrate
and inhere. Thus the nature of the waters, having received holi-
ness from the Holy, itself conceived power to make holy. Let
no one on that account object, 'But are we then baptized in those
same waters which were there in the beginning?' Not those
very same - yet still the same, to the extent that the species is one,
though there are many individual instances, and that which has
become an attribute of the species overflows into the individuals.
Consequently it makes no matter whether one is washed in the
sea or in a pond, a river or a fountain, a cistern or a tub : and there
is no difference between those whom John baptized in Jordan1
and those whom Peter baptized in the Tiber - unless perhaps that
eunuch whom Philip baptized in casual water in the course of
his journeyings2 obtained a greater, or a less, amount of salvation.
Therefore, in consequence of that ancient original privilege, all
waters, when God is invoked, acquire the sacred significance of
conveying sanctity: for at once the Spirit comes down from
heaven and stays upon the waters, sanctifying them from within
himself, and when thus sanctified they absorb the power of
sanctifying - though the simile would equally apply to the simple
act, that as we are defiled by sins as though with filth, we are
washed clean in water. But as sins are in the flesh yet are not
visible (since no one carries on his complexion the stains of
idolatry, adultery, or embezzlement), so people of this sort are
filthy in their spirit, which is where sin begins: for the spirit is
the master, and the body the servant. Yet each of these imparts
guilt to the other, the spirit by its directive, the flesh by service
rendered. Thus when the waters have in some sense acquired
healing power by an angel's intervention, the spirit is in those
waters corporally washed, while the flesh is in those same waters
spiritually cleansed.


1 Cf. Matt. 3. 6.           2 Cf. Acts 8. 38.


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CAP. 5.   [1] Sedenim nationes extraneae ab omni intellectu spiritalium
potestatem eadem efficacia idolis suis subministrant. sed viduis
aquis sibi mentiuntur. nam et sacris quibusdam per lavacrum
initiantur Isidis alicuius aut Mithrae. ipsos etiam deos suos
lavationibus efferunt. ceterum villas domos templa totasque urbes
aspergine circumlatae aquae expiant. passim certe ludis Apollinari-
bus et Pelusiis tinguuntur, idque se in regenerationem et impuni-
tatem periuriorum suorum agere praesumunt. item penes
veteres quisque se homicidio infecerat purgatrices aquas ex-
plorabat. [2] igitur si idolo, natura aquae quod propria [materia] sit 
abluendi, auspici emundationis blandiuntur, quanto id verius
aquae praestabunt per dei auctoritatem a quo omnis natura earum
constituta est: si religione aquas medicari putant, quae potior
religio quam dei vivi agnitio? [3] hic quoque studium diaboli 
recognoscimus res dei aemulantis, cum et ipse baptismum in suis
exercet. quid simile? immundus emundat, perditor liberat,
damnatus absolvit? suam videlicet operam destruet diluens
delicta quae inspirat ipse. haec quidem in testimonium posita
sort repellentibus fidem, si minime credant rebus dei, quarum
adfectationibus apud aemulatorem dei credunt. [4] an non et alias 
sine ullo sacramento immundi spiritus aquis incubant adfectantes
illam in primordio divini spiritus gestationem? sciunt opaci
quique fontes et avii quique rivi, et in balneis piscinae et euripi
in domibus vel cisternae, et putei qui rapere dicuntur, scilicet per
vim spiritus nocentis. nam et esetos et lymphaticos et hydro-
phobas vocant quos aquae necaverunt aut amentia vel formidine
exercuerunt. [5] quorsum ista rettulimus? ne quis durius credat 
5:  2

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10
11

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potestatem Gel.: potestatum BT: potestatum, eandem efficaciam cj. Hartel.
subministravit B.
purgatrices agues explorabat B: purgatrice aqua expiabatur T.
si idolo Brf.: sidolo T: si de sole B.        propria materia sit B.
abluendi Urs.: adloquendi B: adlegendi T.
auspici Brf.: auspicii T: in auspicii B.
vivi agnitio? T: vivi? quo agnito B.
mundat T.
aemulum dei B: aemulatorem deum T.
esetos scribebam: esietos B: scetos T.
hydrophobas BT, Hieronymus, Isidorus: hydrophobos Gel.

ON BAPTISM

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5   'But', you object, 'the gentiles, strangers to all understanding
of spiritual things, ascribe power of equal effectiveness to their
idols.' They tell themselves lies, for their waters are barren. In
certain sacred rites they are initiated by means of a bath <so as to
belong to> Isis perhaps or Mithras. Also they carry their gods
out <in procession> for washings. Moreover they ritually purify
their country and town houses, their temples, and whole cities,
by carrying water about and sprinkling it. Certainly at the Apol-
linarian and Pelusian games they get baptized wholesale, and
suppose they are doing this with a view to rebirth and release
from their broken oaths. Among the ancients, one who had
infected himself with homicide looked about for purifying waters.
So then, if because cleansing is a particular characteristic of water,
they seek favours of an idol as agent of purification, how much
more truly shall water convey that benefit by the authority of
the God by whom every one of its attributes has been appointed?
If they suppose water receives healing power from religious
usage, what more effective religious usage is there than the
acknowledgement of the living God? Here too we observe the
devil's zeal in hostility to the things of God, in that he also
practises baptism among his own. Yet how unlike. Does the
unclean make clean, the destroyer set free, the condemned acquit?
If so, he will be pulling down his own work, and washing away
the sins he himself inspires. I have set down these remarks for a
testimony against those who reject the faith, in that they give
too little credence to things of God, though they do give credit
to the attempts to reproduce them made by God's enemy. Also,
apart from this, without any sacred significance, unclean spirits
do settle upon waters, pretending to reproduce that primordial
resting of the divine Spirit upon them :I as witness shady springs
and all sorts of unfrequented streams, pools in bathing-places,
and channels or storage-tanks in houses, and those wells called
snatching-wells-obviously they snatch by the violent action of
a malignant spirit: for people also use words like 'esetic' and
'lymphatic' and 'hydrophobic' of those whom water has drowned,
or has vexed with madness or fear. Why have I referred to such

1 Cf. Gen. 1. 2.

 


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angelum dei sanctum aquis in salutem hominis temperandis
adesse, cum angelus mali profanus commercium eiusdem elementi
in perniciem hominis frequentet. angelum aquis intervenire si
novum videtur, exemplum futuri praecucurrit. piscinam
Bethsaidam angelus interveniens commovebat. observabant qui
valetudinem querebantur. nam si quis praevenerat descendere
illuc, queri post lavacrum desinebat. figura ista medicinae
corporalis spiritalem medicinam canebat, ex forma qua semper
carnalia in figura spiritalium antecedunt. [6] proficiente itaque in 
omnibus gratia dei plus aquis et angelo accessit: qui vitia corporis
remediabant nunc spiritum medentur, qui temporalem opera-
bantur salutem nunc aeternam reformant, qui unum semel
in anno liberabant nunc quotidie populos conservant deleta morte
per ablutionem delictorum. exempto scilicet reatu eximitur et
poena. [7] ita restituitur homo deo ad similitudinem eius qui retro 
ad imaginem dei fuerat: imago in effigie, similitudo in aeternitate
censetur: recipit enim illum dei spiritum quem tunc de adflatu
eius acceperat sed post amiserat per delictum.

CAP. 6.   [1] Non quod in aqua spiritum sanctum consequimur, sed in aqua
emundati sub angelo spiritui sancto praeparamur. hic quoque
figura praecessit. sicut enim Ioannes antepraecursor domini fuit
praeparans vias eius, ita et angelus baptismi arbiter superventuro
spiritui sancto vias dirigit abolitione delictorum, quam fides
impetrat obsignata in patre et filio et spiritu sancto. [2] nam si in 
29

30
32
33
35
36
36-7
40
42
43
44
angelus mali profanus Kroy.: angelis malis profanus B: angel** mal*
pfanu T.
frequentat B.
servabant T.
invalitudinem Brf. et forsan T,
canebat B: praedicabat T.        ex T: ea B.
figuram Rfd., forsan recte.
itaque in omnibus T: ita qui nominibus B.
in om. B.
restituetur B, manifesto errore.
effigie Gel.: effigiem BT.
censentur T.
6: 1
2
3
5
6
non quod in aquis ... consequamur B.
spiritu B.
sic enim B.         antepraecursor B: antecursor T.
abolitione T: ablutione B.
imperat T.

ON BAPTISM

15

 

matters? So that no one should think it over-difficult for God's
holy angel to be present to set waters in motion for man's salva-
tion, when an unholy angel of the evil one often does business
with that same element with a view to man's perdition. If it is
thought strange that an angel should do things to waters, there
has already occurred a precedent of that which was to be. An
angel used to do things when he moved the Pool of Bethsaida.1
Those who complained of ill-health used to watch out for
him, for anyone who got down there before the others, after
washing had no further reason to complain. This example of
bodily healing was prophetic of spiritual healing, by the general
rule that carnal things always come first as examples of things
spiritual. Therefore, as the grace of God makes general progress,
both the waters and the angel have obtained more power. They
used to remedy bodily defects, but now heal the spirit: they used
to administer temporal health, but now restore the health which
is eternal: they used to set free one man, once a year, but now
every day save nations, destroying death by the washing away of
sins. Evidently as the guilt is removed the penalty also is taken
away. In this way is man being restored to God, to the likeness
of him who had aforetime been in God's image2 - the image had
its actuality in the <man God> formed, the likeness <becomes
actual> in eternity - for there is given back to him that spirit of
God which of old he had received of God's breathing, but after
wards had lost through sin.

6   Not that the Holy Spirit is given to us in the water, but that in
the water we are made clean by the action of the angel, and made
ready for the Holy Spirit. Here also a type had come first. As
John was our Lord's forerunner, preparing his ways,3 so also the
angel, the mediator of baptism, makes the ways straight for the
Holy Spirit who is to come next. He does so by that cancelling
of sins which is granted in response to faith signed and sealed in
the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. For if in three wit-

1 Cf. John 5. 4 sqq.
2 Cf. Gen. 1. 26.
3 Cf. Matt. 3. 3Mark 1. 2; Luke 3. 4.


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10 








5









5










tribus testibus stabit omne verbum, dei quarto magis donum ?
habemus benedictione eosdem arbitros fidei quos et sponsores
salutis. sufficit ad fiduciam spei nostrae etiam numerus nominum
divinorum. cum autem sub tribus et testatio fidei et sponsio
salutis pigneretur, necessario adicitur ecclesiae mentio, quoniam
ubi tres, id est pater et filius et spiritus sanctus; ibi ecclesia quae
trium corpus est.

CAP. 7.  [1] Exinde egressi de lavacro perungimur beriedicta unctione de
pristina disciplina qua ungui oleo de cornu in sacerdotium
solebant, ex quo Aaron a Moyse unctus est. unde christus dicitur
a chrismate quod est unctio, quae <et> domino nomen accom-
modavit, facta spiritalis quia spiritu unctus est a deo patre: sicut
in Actis, Collecti sunt enim vero in ista civitate adversus sanctum
filium tuum quem unxisti. [2] sic et in nobis carnaliter currit unctio 
sed spiritaliter proficit, quomodo et ipsius baptismi carnalis actus
quod in aqua mergimur, spiritalis effectus quod delictis liberamur.

CAP. 8.   [1] Dehinc manus imponitur per benedictionem advocans et
invitans spiritum sanctum. sane humano ingenio licebit spiritum
in aquam arcessere et concorporationem eorum accommodatis
desuper manibus alio spiritu tantae claritatis animare, deo autem
in suo organo non licebit per manus sanctas sublimitatem
modulari spiritalem? [2] sed est hoc quoque de veteri sacramento 
quo nepotes suos ex Ioseph, Ephrem et Manassem, Iacob [capiti-
bus] impositis et intermutatis manibus benedixit, et quidem ita
8

11
habebimus benedictione T: habemus benedictionem B: <per> bene-
dictionem Gel.; <de> benedictione Brf.: sed vix usus fuerat.
pignerentur B. necessariora dicitur T.
7: 2
3
4
6
8
sacerdotio B.
christus dicitur B [Levit. 4.3.5]: christiani dicti T.
et add. Brf. ex Isid. Hisp. Etym, vii. 2. 3.
vero B: om. T.: vere Gel. [cf Actt. 4. 27 e)p' a)lhqei/aj]
ipsius Gel.: spiritus ipsius B: spiritus T.
8: 7
8-9
capitibus B: om. T.
ita transversim B: ira avertuit T.

ON BAPTISM

17


nesses every word shall be established,1 how much more shall
the gift of God? By the benediction we have the same mediators
of faith as we have sureties of salvation. That number of the
divine names of itself suffices for the confidence of our hope.
Yet because it is under the charge of three that profession of faith
and promise of salvation are in pledge, there is a necessary addi-
tion, the mention of the Church: because where there are the
three, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, there is the
Church, which is a body of three.2

7  After that we come up from the washing and are anointed
with the blessed unction, following that ancient practice by which,
ever since Aaron was anointed by Moses,3 there was a custom of
anointing them for priesthood with oil out of a horn. That is
why <the high priest> is called a christ,4 from 'chrism' which is
<the Greek for> 'anointing': and from this also our Lord obtained
his title, though it had become a spiritual anointing, in that he
was anointed with the Spirit by God the Father: and so <it says>
in the Acts, For of a truth they are gathered together in this city against
thy holy Son whom thou hast anointed.5 So also in our case, the
unction flows upon the flesh, but turns to spiritual profit, just as
in the baptism itself there is an act that touches the flesh, that we
are immersed in water, but a spiritual effect, that we are set free
from sins.

8    Next follows the imposition of the hand in benediction,
inviting and welcoming the Holy Spirit. Human ingenuity has
been permitted to summon spirit to combine with water, and by
application of a man's hands over the result of their union to
animate it with another spirit of excellent clarity: and shall not
God be permitted, in an organ of his own, by the use of holy
hands to play a tune of spiritual sublimity? But this too is in-
volved in that ancient sacred act in which Jacob blessed his
grandsons, Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, by placing his
hands interchanged upon their heads,6 turned transversely upon

1 Cf. Deut. 19. 15; Matt. 18. 16; 2 Cor. 13. 1.
2 Cf. Matt. 18. 20; 1 John 5. 7, 8.
3 Cf. Exod. 30. 30; Lev. 8. 12.         4 Lev. 4. 3, 5 LXX.
5 Acts 4. 27.      6 Cf. Gen. 48. 14.

18

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10 




15




20




25








5

transversim obliquatis in se ut Christum deformantes iam tunc
portenderent benedictionem in Christo futuram. [3] tunc ille 
sanctissimus spiritus super emundata et benedicta corpora libens
a patre descendit superque baptismi aquas tanquam pristinam
sedem recognoscens conquiescit: columbae figura delapsus in
dominum ut natura spiritus sancti declararetur per animal
simplicitatis et innocentiae, quod etiam corporaliter ipso felle
careat columba. [4] ideoque Estote, inquit, simplices ut columbae:
ne hoc quidem sine argumento praecedentis figurae : quemad-
modum enim post aquas diluvii quibus iniquitas antiqua purgata
est, post baptismum ut ita dixerim mundi, pacem caelestis irae
praeco columba terris adnuntiavit dimissa ex arca et cum olea
reversa - quod signum etiam ad nationes pacis praetenditur
eadem dispositione spiritalis effectus terrae, id est carni nostrae,
emergenti de lavacro post vetera delicta columba sancti spiritus
advolat pacem dei adferens, emissa de caelis ubi ecclesia est
arcae figura. [5] 'sed mundus rursus deliquit, quo male comparetur 
baptismus diluvio.' itaque igni destinatur, sicut et homo cum post
baptismum delicta restaurat: ut hoc quoque in signum admoni-
tionis nostrae debeat accipi.

CAP. 9.   [1] Quot igitur patrocinia naturae, quot privilegia gratiae, quot
sollemnia disciplinae, figurae praestructiones praedicationes,
religionem aquae ordinaverunt. primum quidem, cum populus
de Aegypto [libere] expeditus vim regis Aegypti per aquam trans-
gressus evadit, ipsum regem cum totis copiis aqua extinguit.
quae figura manifestior in baptismi Sacramento? liberantur de
9

10
12
14
20
21
25
26
Christum libri et editores: mallem crucem scripsisse.
deformantes Gel.: deformantis BT.
in Christo T: in Christum B.
superque T: super B.
declaretur T forsan recte.
praeco om. T.
ad T: apud B.     pacis T: paci B.
arcae figura T: arca figurata B. deliquit B: delinquit T.
baptismum T Brf. cum T: qui B.
9: 1
2
4
5
quot (ter) Gel.: quod TB.
praedicationes Kroy.: praedicationis T: precationes B.
libere om. T.
extinxit B.

ON BAPTISM

19

 

themselves in such a manner as to make the shape of Christ,1 and
at that early date to prefigure the blessing that was to be in Christ.
At this point that most holy Spirit willingly comes down from
the Father upon bodies cleansed and blessed, and comes to rest
upon the waters of baptism as though revisiting his primal
dwelling-place. He came down upon our Lord in the form of a
dove,2 and thus the nature of the Holy Spirit was clearly revealed
in a creature of simplicity and innocence, since even physically
the dove is without gall: which is why he says, Be ye simple, like
doves
.3 And this too has the support of a type which had preceded:
for as, after those waters of the Flood, by which the ancient
iniquity was cleansed away, after the baptism (so to express it)
of the world, a dove as herald announced to the earth peace from
the wrath of heaven, having been sent forth of the ark and having
returned with an olive-leaf4 - and towards the heathen too this
is held out as a sign of peace - by the same <divine> ordinance of
spiritual effectiveness the dove who is the Holy Spirit is sent forth
from heaven, where the Church is which is the type of the ark,
and flies down bringing God's peace to the earth which is our
flesh, as it comes up from the washing after <the removal of> its
ancient sins. 'But', <you object,> 'the world sinned once more,
so that this equating of baptism with the flood is not valid.'
<The world sinned>, and so is appointed for the fire, as also a
man is when he renews his sins after baptism: so that this also
needs to be accepted as a sign and a warning to us.

9   See how many then are the advocacies of nature, the special
provisions of grace, the customary observances of conduct, the
types, the preparations in act or word, which have laid down the
rule for the sacred use of water. The first, that when the people
<of Israel> are set free from bondage in Egypt and by passing
through the water are escaping the violence of the Egyptian
king,5 the king himself with all his forces is destroyed by water.
This is a type made abundantly clear in the sacred act of baptism:

1 Perhaps read 'a cross'.
2 Cf. Matt. 3. 16; Mark 1. 10; Luke 3. 22; John 1. 32.
3 Matt. 10. 16.            4 Cf. Gen. 8. 10,11.
5 Cf. Exod. 14. 28.


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10




15 




20









5







saeculo nationes per aquam scilicet, et diabolum dominatorem
pristinum in aqua oppressum derelinquunt. [2] item aqua de 
amaritudinis vitio in suum commodum suavitatis Mosei ligno
remediatur. lignum illud erat Christus venenatae et amarae
retro naturae venas in saluberrimam aquam, baptismi scilicet, ex
sese remedians. [3] haec est aqua quae de comite petra populo 
profluebat: si enim petra Christus, sine dubio aqua in Christo
baptismum videmus benedici. quanta aquae gratia penes deum et
Christum eius ad baptismi confirmationem. [4] nunquam sine aqua
Christus : siquidem et ipse aqua tinguitur, prima rudimenta
potestatis suae vocatus ad nuptias aqua auspicatur, cum sermonem
facit sitientes ad aquam suam invitat sempiternam, cum de agape
docet aquae calicem parvo oblatum inter opera dilectionis
probat: ad puteum vires resumit, super aquam incedit, libenter
transfretat, aquam discentibus ministrat. perseverat testimonium
baptismi usque ad passionem: cum deditur in crucem aqua inter-
venit - sciunt Pilati manus : cum vulneratur aqua de latere
prorumpit - scit lancea militis.

CAP. 10.    [1] Diximus quantum mediocritati nostrae licuit de universis
quae baptismi religionem instruunt. nunc ad reliquum statum
eius aeque ut potero progrediar de quaestiunculis quibusdam.
baptismus a Ioanne denuntiatus iam tunc habuit quaestionem ab
ipso quidem domino propositam ad pharisaeos, caelestisne is
baptismus esset an veto terrenus: de quo illi non valuerunt

 

8
9
11
13
13-14 
19


20
derelinquit B.
suum TB: usum Latinius.
in saluberrimas aquas B.
defluebat B.
quaero an scribendum aquam. . .baptismi.
aquam calice patri oblatam T.
parvo scribebam [Matt. 10. 42 e#na tw~n mikrw~n tou&twn]: patri BT: pauperi
Urs. Rig.: pari Brf.
ad T: apud B.
10 2
5
struunt B.
pharisaeis B.

 


ON BAPTISM

21

 

I mean that the gentiles are set free from this present world by
means of water, and leave behind, drowned in the water, their
ancient tyrant the devil. Secondly, water is healed of the blemish
of bitterness, hand restored to its own sweet usefulness, by the
tree Moses throws in:1 and that tree was Christ, who from with-
in himself heals the springs of that nature which was previously
poisoned and embittered, <converting them> into exceedingly
healthful water, that of baptism. This is the water which flowed
forth for the people <of Israel> from the rock that followed
them:2 and as that rock was Christ, without doubt this shows us
that baptism is made blessed in Christ by water. See how great
is the, grace that water has in the presence of God and his Christ
for the corroboration of baptism. Wherever Christ is, there is
water: he himself is baptized in water:3 when called to a marriage
he inaugurates with water the first rudiments of his power:4
when engaged in conversation he invites those who are athirst
to come to his everlasting water:5 when teaching of charity he
approves of a cup of water offered to a little one as one of the
works of affection:6 at a well-side he recruits his strength:7 he
walks upon the water,8 by his own choice he crosses over the
water,9 with water he makes himself a servant to his disciples.10
He continues his witness to baptism right on to his passion: when
he is given up to the cross water is in evidence, as Pilate's hands
are aware:11 when he receives a wound water bursts forth from
his side, as the soldier's spear can tell.12

10     So far as was clear to my small comprehension I have spoken
of all those general matters which confirm the religious signi-
ficance of baptism. I shall now pass on to the rest of its essential
features, <to treat,> again as well as I can, of a number of smaller
questions. The baptism which John preached already involved a
question, that which our Lord himself addressed to the pharisees,
whether that baptism was from heaven, or only of the earth.13
1  Cf. Exod. 15. 23-5.  2  Cf. 1 Cor. 10. 4.  3  Cf. Matt. 3. 16, etc.
4  Cf. John 2. 7-11. 5  Cf. John 4. 14;  7. 38.  6  Cf. Matt. 10. 42.
7  Cf. John 4. 6. 8  Cf. Matt. 14. 25.  9  Cf. Matt. 14. 34.
10  Cf. John 13. 5. 11  Cf. Matt. 27. 24. 12  Cf. John 19. 34.
13  Cf. Matt. 21. 25, etc.

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10 




15




20




25




30



constanter respondere, utpote non intelligentes quia nec credentes.
[2] nos quidem quantula fide sumus tantulo et intellectu possumus 
aestimare divinum quidem eum baptismum fuisse, mandatu
tamen non et potestate, quod et Ioannem a domino missum legi-
mus in hoc munus, ceterum humanum condicione. nihil enim
caeleste praestabat, sed caelestibus praeministrabat, paenitentiae
scilicet praepositus quae est in hominis voluntate. [3] denique legis 
doctores et pharisaei, qui credere noluerunt, nec paententiam
inire voluerunt. quodsi paenitentia humanum est et baptismus
ipsius eiusdem condicionis fuerit necesse est: aut daret et spiritum
sanctum et remissionem peccatorum si caelestis fuisset. sed
neque peccata dimittit neque spiritum indulget nisi solus deus.
[4] etiam ipse dominus nisi ipse prius ascenderet ad patrem aliter 
negavit spiritum descensurum. ita quod dominos nondum
conferebat servus utique praestare non posset. adeo postea in
Actin Apostolorum invenimus [quoniam] qui Ioannis baptismum
habebant spiritum accepisse sanctum, quem ne auditu quidem
noverant. [5] ergo non erat caeleste quod caelestia non exhibebat, 
cum ipsum quod caeleste in Ioanne fuerat, spiritus prophetiae, post
totius spiritus in dominum translationem usque adeo defecerit ut
quem praedicaverat, quem advenientem designaverat, postmodum
an ipse esset miserit sciscitatum. agebatur itaque baptismus
paenitentiae quasi candidatus remissionis et sanctificarionis in
Christo subsecuturae. [6] nam quod legimus, Praedicabat baptismum
paenitentiae in remissionem peccatorum, in futuram remissionem

     8

11  
13
15
16
17
18
20
22
23

29
30
31
quidem T: porro B. tantulo et intellectu possumus B: tantulum et
intellectum habemus: possumus T.
conditione T ut semper, sed hic forsan recte.
voluntate T: potestate B.
inire voluerunt T: agere B: egere Lat.
conditionis T.
peccatorum T: delictorum B.
peccatum B.
ita quod T: id quod B.
quoniam om. T.
spiritum accepisse sanctum T: non accepissent spiritum sanctum B: non
accepisse spiritum sanctum Brf., sed vix opus erat.
candidatus B: candidate T: candidatae Brf., forsan recte.
legimus om. B.
delictorum B.



ON BAPTISM

23

 

Concerning this those people lacked the courage to answer with
assurance: they were void of understanding, because void of
faith.1 We however, with all the little faith we have, and with
understanding in proportion, are able to work it out that that
baptism was divine - in commission, I mean, not by any power
<of its own> : because we find it written that it was the Lord
who had commissioned John for this task,2 though he was human
by birth and upbringing. He discharged no heavenly function,
but did service preparatory to heavenly things: he was set in
authority over repentance,3 and this is in a man's power, for in
fact the doctors of the law, and the pharisees, refused to believe,
and likewise refused to repent.4 But if repentance is a human act,
then the baptism of repentance must have been of the same sort:
else, if it had been heavenly, it would also have given the Holy
Spirit, and the remission of sins. But sins are not forgiven, or the
Spirit granted, except by God alone. Also our Lord himself said
that the Spirit would not come down until he himself should
first ascend to the Father.5 Thus what his Lord was not yet con-
ferring, the servant could have had no power to provide. So we
find later on, in the Acts of the Apostles, that some people who
had the baptism of John <needed to> receive the Holy Spirit,6
whom they had never known of even by hearsay. It follows that
that was not heavenly which did not display heavenly character-
istics: and in John himself that very thing which was heavenly,
the Spirit of prophecy, did after the transference of the whole
Spirit to our Lord to such an extent fail that after a while John
sent to enquire whether that one whom he had preached, and
had singled out when he came, was really he.7 What was intended
then was a baptism of repentance, as a kind of applicant for the
remission and sanctification which in Christ was soon to follow.
For that which we read, He preached a baptism of repentance for the
remission of sins,8 was an announcement made in view of a re-
mission which was to be: for repentance comes first, and

1  Cf. Isa. 7. 9 LXX. 2  Cf. John 1. 6.
3  Cf. Matt. 3. 8. 4  Cf. Luke 5. 17.
5  Cf. John 16. 7. 6  Cf. Acts 18. 25; 19. 2.
7  Cf. Matt. 11. 3. 8  Mark 1. 4.

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35 









5




10




15



enuntiatum est, siquidem paenitentia antecedit, remissio sequitur,
et hoc est viam praeparare: qui autem praeparat non idem ipse
perficit sed alii perficiendum procurat. [7] ipse profitetur sua non 
esse caelestia sed Christi dicendo, Qui de terra est terrena
loquitur, qui de supernis venit super omnes est: item soli se
paenitentiae tinguere, venturum mox qui tingueret in spiritu et
igni: scilicet quia vera et stabilis fides spiritu tinguitur in
salutem, simulata autem et infirma igni tinguitur in iudicium.

CAP. 11.   [1]  'Sed ecce', inquiunt, 'venit dominus et non tinxit: legimus
enim, Et tamen Iesus non ipse tinguebat verum discipuli eius.'
quasi revera ipsum suis manibus tincturum Ioannes praedicasset.
[2] non utique sic intelligendum est, sed simpliciter dictum more 
communi, sicut est verbi gratia 'imperator proposuit edictum'
aut 'praefectus fustibus cecidit'. numquid ipse proponit aut
numquid ipse caedit? semper is dicitur facere cui praeministratur.
ita erit accipiendum Ipse vos tinguet pro eo quod est 'per ipsum
tinguemini', vel 'in ipsum'. [3] sed nec moveat quosdam quod non 
ipse tinguebat. in quem enim tingueret? in paenitentiam? quo
ergo illi praecursorem? in peccatorum remissionem, quam verbo
dabat? in semetipsum, quem in humilitate celabat? in spiritum
sanctum, qui nondum ad patrem ascenderat? in ecclesiam, quam
nondum apostolis struxerat? [4] itaque tinguebant discipuli eius 
ut ministri, ut Ioannes antepraecursor, eodem baptismo Ioannis,
ne quo alio putes : quia nec extat alias nisi postea Christi, qui

32
34

35
36-7
37
38
subsequitur B.
perficit Gel.: perfecit B: perfecisse T [sed in medio hoc verbo archetypi folia
interversa fuerant
].
terrena T: de terra B.
sola se paenitentia B.
tingueret B: tinguet T.
spiritu scribebam: aqua libri et editores.
11 2
9
10
11
12-13 
13
14
15
16
Iesus T: is B, om. ipse.
nec T: ne B.
in quem libri et edd.: suspicor scribendum fuisse in quam rem.
praecursore T.
spiritu sancto B.
ad patrem ascenderat B: a patre descenderat T (manu secunda).
apostolis struxerat T: apostoli struxerant B.
antecursor T.
ne quo alio putes Brf.: ne quod aliud [vel alio] putes T: ne qui alio putet B.

 


ON BAPTISM

25

 

remission follows, and this is the meaning of preparing the way.
But one who prepares a thing does not himself perform it, but
provides for its performance by someone else. John himself
admits that the heavenly things are not his but Christ's, when he
says, He that is of the earth speaketh earthly things: he that bath come
from above is above all men
.1 Also he said that he was baptizing
solely for repentance, and that one would soon come who would
baptize in the Spirit and in fire:2 because a true and steadfast faith
is baptized with the Spirit3 unto salvation, but a feigned and
feeble faith is baptized with fire unto judgement.

11   'But look,' they say, 'our Lord did come, and did not
baptize: for we see it written, Howbeit Jesus himself baptized not,
but his disciples
.' But, you know, John had never preached that
Jesus would baptize with his own hands, nor need we so under
stand it, but as spoken in an ordinary and general way, like, for
example, 'The emperor has posted up an edict', or 'The governor
beat him with rods'. There is no question of the emperor himself
posting up the edict, or the governor himself doing the beating.
We regularly say that a person does a thing, when it is done for
him by an agent. So we shall have to take He shall baptize you5
as meaning, 'Through him or unto him you will be baptized'.
Nor is there any call for certain persons to be concerned because
he did not himself baptize. For unto whom could he baptize?
Unto repentance? Then what need had he of. a forerunner?
Unto remission of sins? But he granted that with a word.6 Unto
himself? But in humility he used to keep himself hidden. Unto
the Holy Spirit? But he had not yet ascended to the Father.7
Unto the Church? But he had not yet furnished it with apostles.
Consequently it was his disciples who baptized, though as ser-
vants like John the forerunner, with the same baptism as John's,
lest you should suppose it were with some other. For no other
exists except Christ's, which came later: and this at that juncture

1 John 3. 31.                  2 Cf. Matt. 3. 11 ; Luke 3. 16, etc.
3 The manuscript says, 'with water': but 'with the Spirit' is perhaps what
was meant.
4 John 4. 2.             5 Matt. 3. 11.            6 Cf. Matt. 9. 2, etc.
7 cf John 16. 7.


26

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20 





5




10




15




20


tunc utique a discentibus dari non poterat utpote nondum
adimpleta gloria domini nec instructa efficacia lavacri per
passionem et resurrectionem, quia nec mors nostra dissolvi posset
nisi domini passione nec vita restitui sine resurrectione ipsius.

CAP. 12.   [1] Cum vero praescribitur nemini sine baptismo competere
salutem, ex illa maxime pronuntiatione domini qui ait, Nisi natus
ex aqua quis erit non habebit vitam, suboriuntur scrupulosi immo
temerarii retractatus quorundam quomodo ex ista praescriptione  
[praestructione] apostolis salus competat quos tinctos non in-
veniamus in domino praeter Paulum: [2] immo cum Paulus solus ex 
illis baptismum Christi induerit, aut praeiudicatum esse de cetero-
rum periculo qui careant aqua Christi ut praescriptio salva sit, aut
rescindi praescriptionem si etiam et non tinctis salus statuta est.
audivi, domino teste, eiusmodi, ne qui me tam perditum existimet
ut ultro excogitem libidine stili quae aliis scrupulum incutiant.
[3] et nunc illis ut potero respondebo qui negant apostolos tinctos. 
nam si [humanum] Ioannis baptismum impetrarant, domini cur
desiderabant, quatenus unum baptismum definierat ipse dominus 
dicens Petro perfundi volenti, Qui semel lavit non habet necesse
rursum, quod utique non tincto non omnino dixisset? et haec
est probatio exerta adversus illos qui adimunt apostolis etiam
Ioannis baptismum, ut destruant aquae sacramentum. [4] an 
credibile videri potest in eis personis viam tunc domino non prae-
paratam, id est baptismum Ioannis, quae ad viam domini per
totum orbem aperiendam destinabantur? ipse dominos nullius
paenitentiae debitor tinctus est: peccatoribus non fuit necesse?

20 surrectione B (forsan recte).
12 3
4
5
9
10
11

13  


15
19
20
habebit T: habet B.
praescriptione praestructione B.
invenimus B.
si etiam et T: et om. B.
teste in eiusmodi B: testemur eiusmodi T.       quis B.
excogitem Oeh.: excogite*t T: excogitet B.      libidine Urs.: libidinem 
BT
.        incutiant B: initiat T: fortasse iniciant Brf.
humanum om. T.
impetrarant Brf.: impetrant T: inierant B.      domini cur Brf.: dni cu
T: et dominicum cur B.
nolenti B.
domini B.
baptismo Brf. (sed vix opus erat).

 


ON BAPTISM

27

 

could certainly not have been conferred by the disciples, because
our Lord's glory was not yet complete,1 nor the efficacy of the
washing as yet ensured by his passion and resurrection : for neither
could our death be annulled except by our Lord's passion, nor
our life restored apart from his resurrection.

12     Now there is a standing rule that without baptism no man
can obtain salvation. It derives in particular from that <well
known> pronouncement of our Lord, who says, Except a man be
born of water he cannot have life
.2 Hence arise certain persons'
over-precise or even audacious discussions as to how, in view of
that standing rule, the apostles can have obtained salvation, when
we observe that none of them except Paul were baptized in our
Lord: in fact, since Paul is the only one from among them who
has put on the baptism of Christ,3 either we have the case pre-
judged (they say) concerning those others' peril who are without
Christ's baptism, so that the standing rule may be safe: or else,
if salvation is appointed even for these unbaptized, the general
rule is repealed. God is my witness that I have heard such
<remarks>, that no one may suppose me so low-minded as to
invent of my own, by the licence of my pen, thoughts calculated
to strike others with doubt. So now I shall answer, as well as I
can, those who say the apostles had not been baptized. If they
had obtained John's baptism, what need had they of our Lord's?
Our Lord himself had set the limit of one baptism by saying to
Peter when he asked to be thoroughly washed, He who has once
bathed has no need to do it again
:4 and this he would certainly not
have said to one unbaptized. This also is an express argument
against those who deprive the apostles even of John's baptism,
hoping to abolish the sacrament of the water. Nor can it be
thought credible that the way for the Lord, meaning John's
baptism, had not already been prepared in those persons who
were being appointed to open up the way of the Lord throughout
the whole world. Our Lord was baptized, though he owed no
debt to repentance:5 did not sinners need to be? That other

1 Cf. Luke 24. 26.  2 Cf. John 3. 5.
3 Cf. Acts 9. 18. 4 Cf. John 13. 10.
5 Cf. Matt. 3. 13.

 


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25 




30




35




40




45




quod ergo alii tincti non sint, non iam comites Christi sed aemuli
fidei, legis doctores et pharisaei. [5] unde et suggeritur, cum ad- 
versantes domino tingui noluerint, eos qui dominum sequebantur
tinctos fuisse nec cum aemulis [suis] sapuisse, maxime quando
dominus cui adhaerebant testimonio Ioannem extulisset, Nemo,
dicens, maior inter natos feminarum Ioanne baptizatore. [6] alii plane 
satis coacte iniciunt tunc apostolos baptismi vicem implesse cum in
navicula fluctibus mergerentur: ipsum quoque Petrum [per] mare
ingredientem satis mersum. ut opinor autem aliud est aspergi vel
intercipi violentia maris, aliud tingui disciplina religionis. [7] ceterum 
navicula illa figuram ecclesiae praeferebat quod in mari, id est
in saeculo, fluctibus id est persecutionibus et temptationibus
inquietetur, domino per patientiam velut dormiente donec oratio-
nibus sanctorum in ultimis suscitatus compescat saeculum et
tranquillitatem suis reddat. [8] nunc sive tincti quoquo modo 
fuerunt sive illoti perseveraverunt ut et illud dictum domini de
uno lavacro sub Petri persona ad nos tantummodo spectet, de
salute tamen apostolorum satis temerarium est aestimare: quia
illis vel primae adlectionis et exinde individuae familiaritatis
praerogativa compendium baptismi conferre posset, cum illum
opinor sequebantur [illum] qui credenti cuique salutem pollice-
batur: Fides tua te, aiebat, salvum fecit, et, Remittuntur tibi
peccata, credenti utique nec tamen tincto. [9] id si apostolis defuit 
nescio quorum fides tuta sit. uno verbo domini suscitatus teloneum
dereliquit, patrem et navem et artem qua vitam sustentabat

    23
24-6 
26
28
30
35
37
40
42
43
44
46
46
sunt, non tamen B.     aemulae T.
et cum.. .voluerunt...non fuisse T.
aemulis suis B.
dicens om. T.
mergerentur T: aspersi operti sunt B: forsan aspergerentur.      per mare B.
inquietatur B. paenitentiam T.
quomodo T.
quia T: quae B.
cum illo B.
illum delendum censebam.
fecit et B: faciet T.             remittentur B (falso).
sqq. ita pungebam.
tuta sit Brf.: tua sit T: om. B.           a teloneo T.



ON BAPTISM

29

 

persons were not baptized - these were not, you see, Christ's
companions, but enemies of the faith, doctors of the law, and
pharisees : from which also we may argue that as our Lord's
adversaries refused to be baptized, those who followed the Lord
must have been baptized, and cannot have thought as his enemies
did, especially when the Lord on whom they were attending had
testified to John's high importance when he said, Among those
born of women there is none greater than John the Baptist
.1 Others
make the obviously far-fetched suggestion that the apostles under
went a substitute for baptism on that occasion when in the little
ship they were aspersed with the waves:2 also that Peter himself,
when he walked upon the sea, was well-enough dipped.3 But it
is one thing, I imagine, to be aspersed, or to be cut off by the
violence of the sea, and quite another to be baptized by the rule
of religion. Also that little ship presented a type of the Church,
because on the sea, which means this present world, it is being
tossed about by the waves, which means persecutions and tempta-
tions, while our Lord in his long-suffering is as it were asleep,4
until at the last times he is awakened by the prayers of the saints5
to calm the world and restore tranquillity to his own. As things
are, whether they were baptized, and in whatever manner, or
whether they continued unwashed - and in that case that saying
of our Lord with reference to one washing,6 while addressed to
Peter, will have in view us and not him - to make guesses about
the apostles' salvation is more than rash: because on them the
prerogative, at least, of their original promotion, and thereafter
of inseparable companionship, might be understood to confer a
by-passing of baptism, since they were attendant upon him who
promised salvation to every one that believed: Thy faith, he used
to say, hath saved thee,7 and, Thy sins are being forgiven thee,8 when
the man believed but yet was not baptized. If the apostles lacked
that, I wonder whose faith is secure. At one word of our Lord
one of them was roused up and left his customs-house:9 another
abandoned his father and his ship and the trade by which he was

1 Matt. 11. 11. 2 Cf. Matt. 8. 24, etc. 3 Cf. Matt. 14. 29.
4 Cf. Matt. 8. 24. 5 Cf. Rev. 6. 10. 6 Cf. John 13. 10.
7 Matt. 9. 22, etc. 8 Matt. 9. 2, etc. 9 Cf. Matt. 9. 9, etc.

 


30

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5




10 




15




20



deseruit, [qui] patris exsequias despexit, summum illud domini
praeceptum, Qui patrem aut matrem mihi praeposuerit non est
me dignus, ante perfecit quam audivit.

CAP. 13.   [1]  Hinc ergo scelestissimi illi provocantes quaestiones, Adeo,
dicunt, baptismus non est necessarius quibus fides satis est: nam
et Abraham nullius aquae nisi fidei Sacramento deo placuisse.
sed in omnibus posteriora concludunt et sequentia antecedentibus
praevalent. [2] fuerit salus retro per fidem nudam ante domini 
passionem et resurrectionem: at ubi fides aucta est, credentibus
in nativitatem passionem resurrectionemque eius addita est
ampliato sacramento obsignatio baptismi, vestimentum quodam-
modo fidei quae retro erat nuda, nec potest iam sine sua <salvare>
lege. [3] lex enim tinguendi imposita est, et forma praescripta: Ite, 
inquit, docete nationes tinguentes eas in nomine patris et filii et
spiritus sancti. huic legi collata definitio illa, Nisi quis renatus
fuerit ex aqua et spiritu sancto non introibit in regno caelorum,
obstrinxit fidem ad baptismi necessitatem. itaque omnes exinde
credentes tinguebantur. [4] tunc et Paulus ubi credidit tunc tinctus 
est: et hoc est quod ei dominus in illa plaga orbationis prae-
ceperat; Exsurge, dicens, et introi in Damascum: illic tibi
demonstrabitur quid debeas agere, scilicet tingui, quod solum ei
deerat. alioquin satin didicerat atque crediderat Nazarenum esse
dominum dei filium.

CAP. 14.    [1] Sed et de ipso apostolo revolvunt, quod dixerit, Non enim
me ad tinguendum Christus misit, quasi hoc argumento baptismus

48
49
qui om. T.     despexit B: perspexit T.      illud T: illius B.
praeposuerit T: praetulerit B.
13 1
2
3
5
6
7
9
11
13
15
16
17
19
hic B.          provocant B.
baptismum...necessarium T.
placuisse T: placuit B Brf.
fuerit B: fuerat T.
credentibus T: credendi B.
addita est ampliato Brf.: addita est ampliatio B: addito et ampliato T.
potest iam B: potentiam habuit T. salvare addendum suspicabar.
nomine T: nomen B.
introibit in regno T: intrabit in regnum B.
tunc (altera vice) om. B Refoulé.
ei T: et B.      orationis T.
in om. B.
dederat T.
14 2 baptismum T.

 


ON BAPTISM

31

 

making his living:1 another disregarded his father's burial,2 and
fulfilled, even before he had heard it, that supreme commandment
of our Lord, Any man who prefers his father or his mother to me is
not worthy of me.3

13   In view of this those thorough-going scoundrels, raisers of
unnecessary questions, continue: 'Therefore those for whom
faith is enough have no need of baptism: for Abraham also
pleased God, with no sacrament of water, but only of faith.'
But in all matters later instances are conclusive, and things that
follow have greater validity than those which have gone before.
Let us suppose that formerly, before our Lord's passion and
resurrection, salvation was by faith unattired: yet now that the
faith has been enlarged, for those who believe in his nativity
and passion and resurrection the sacrament has been expanded and
the seal of baptism added, in some sense a clothing for the faith
which was previously unattired: and <faith> can no longer save
apart from its own law. For there has been imposed a law of
baptizing, and its form prescribed: Go, he says, teach the nations,
baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
Ghost
.4 When this law was associated with that well-known
pronouncement, Except a man have been born again of water and
the Holy Spirit he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven
,5 faith
was put under obligation to the necessity of baptism. Consequently
from then onwards all believers began to be baptized. Later on
also, when Paul had believed he was then baptized:6 and this it
is that the Lord had enjoined upon him at that stroke of blindness,
when he said, Arise and go into Damascus: there it shall be shown to
thee what thou must do
:7 namely, be baptized, for this alone did he
lack. Apart from that, he had well enough learned and believed
that the Nazarene is the Lord, the Son of God.8

14    Moreover they have something to say about the apostle
himself, claiming that he said, For Christ sent me not to baptize,9 as
1 Cf. Matt. 4. 18-22, etc.  2 Cf. Matt. 8. 22, etc.
3 Cf. Matt. 10. 37. 4 Matt. 28. 19.
5 John 3. 5.  6 Cf. Acts 9. 18.
7 Acts 9. 6; 22. 10. 8 Cf. Acts 9. 20; 22. 8.
9 1 Cor. 1. 17.

 


32

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5




10 







5




10






adimatur. cur ergo tint Gaium et Crispum et Stephanae
domum? quanquam etsi non eum miserat Christus ad tinguen-
dum, attamen aliis apostolis praeceperat tinguere. [2] verum haec 
pro condicione tunc temporis ad Corinthios scripta sunt, quoniam
schismata inter illos et dissensiones movebantur dum alius Paulo
se deputet, alius Apollo. propter quod pacificus apostolus, ne
sibi omnia defendere videretur, non ad tinguenduxn se missum ait
sed ad praedicandum. nam et prius est praedicare, posterius
tinguere si prius praedicatum. puto autem licuit et tinguere cui
licuit et praedicare.

CAP. 15.    [1] Nescio si quid amplius ad controversiam baptismi ventilatur.
sane retexam quod supra omisi, ne imminentes sensus videar
interscindere. unus omnino baptismus est nobis tam ex domini
evangelio quam et apostoli litteris, quoniam unus deus et unum
baptisma et una ecclesia in caelis. [2] sed circa haereticos sane quae cus- 
todiendum sit digne quis retractet. ad nos enim editum est: haere-
tici autem nullum consortium habent nostrae disciplinae, quos
extraneos utique testatur ipsa ademptio communicationis. non
debeo in illis cognoscere quod mihi est praeceptum, quia non
idem deus est nobis et illis, nec unus Christus, id est idem:
ergo nec baptismus unus, quia non idem. quem cum rite non
habeant sine dubio non habent, nec capit numerare quod non
habetur: ita nec possunt accipere, quia non habent. sed de isto
plenius iam nobis in Graeco digestum est. [3] semel ergo lavacrum 

3
4
8
11
12 
ergo T: enim B.       cum Stephanae domum (sic) T.
ad tinguendum om. T.
se deputet T: deputat B.
si T: sed B.       licuit et tinguere cui om. T.
et om. B.
15
4
5
6
9-10 
11
14
interscindere T: intercidere B.     unum...baptismum T.
quam ex B.      et unum baptisma om. T Brf.
sed om. T.
digne quis B: dignius qui T.       edictum T.
non idem deus B: nec deus unus T.
ergo T: ideoque B.         baptismum unum T.          quem B: quod T.
ab his verbis digestum est, usque ad cap. 17. 5 in asia presbites in archetypo
codicis T post cap.
10. 6 non idem ipse per- transposita fuerant.

 


ON BAPTISM

33

 

though this were an argument for abolishing baptism. Why then
did he baptize Gaius and Crispus, and the household of Stephanas?1
And yet even if Christ had in his case given no commission for
baptizing, he had for all that instructed the other apostles to
baptize.2   This, however, was written to the Corinthians in view
of the circumstances of that time, because schisms and disagree-
ments were being set in motion among them, while one person
ranged himself with Paul, another with Apollos.3  On this
account the apostle, a lover of peace, so as not to seem to claim
everything for himself, said he was not sent to baptize but to
preach. For preaching comes first, baptizing later, when preach
ing has preceded. But I suppose one who had permission to
preach had also permission to baptize.

15   I know not if another matter besides is being worked up into
a controversy about baptism. I shall in any event take up again
a thing I previously left out, that I may not appear to be deliber-
ately omitting themes which will shortly demand attention. We
have one baptism, and one only, on the evidence both of our
Lord's gospel4 and of the apostle's letter, <where he says> that
there is one God and one baptism, and one Church <which is>
in heaven.5 Certainly we have justification for discussing what
practice should be observed in respect of heretics. For it was to
us the announcement was made: whereas heretics have no part
or lot in our regulations: the very fact of their being deprived of
fellowship6 bears witness that they are outsiders. It is no duty of
mine to take cognizance in them of a precept enjoined upon me:
they have not the same God as we have, nor have they the one,
that is the same, Christ: consequently they have not the one,
because they have not the same, baptism. As they have it not in
proper form, there is no doubt that they have it not at all, and
there is no possibility of enumerating a thing which is not in any
one's possession. Also they cannot have it given them, since
they have it not <to give>. But I have already treated of this
more fully in the Greek. So then, we enter into the bath once

1 Cf. 1 Cor. 1. 14, 16.        2 Cf. Matt. 28. 19.       3 Cf. 1 Cor. 1. 12.
4 Cf. Matt. 28. 19; John 13. 10.              5 Cf. Eph. 4. 4, 5.
6 Or perhaps, 'the very fact of our refusal to discuss matters with them'.

 


34

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15




20 





5









5




10
inimus, semel delicta abluuntur, quia ea iterari non oportet.
ceterum Israel Iudaeus quotidie lavat quia quotidie inquinatur.
quod ne in nobis quoque factitaretur propterea de uno lavacro
definitum est. felix aqua quae semel abluit, quae ludibrio pec-
catoribus non est, quae non adsiduitate sordium infecta rursus
quos diluit inquinat.

CAP. 16.    [1] Est quidem nobis etiam secundum lavacrum, unum et ipsum,
sanguinis scilicet, de quo dominos Habeo, inquit, baptismo tingui,
cum iam tinctus fuisset. venerat enim per aquam et sanguinem,
sicut Ioannes scripsit, ut aqua tingueretur sanguine glori-
ficaretur. [2] proinde nos faceret aqua vocatos sanguine electos hos
duos baptismos de vulnere percussi lateris emisit, quia qui in
sanguinem eius crederent aqua lavarentur, qui aqua lavissent et
sanguine oporterent. hic est baptismus qui lavacrum et non
acceptum repraesentat et perditum reddit.

CAP. 17.    [1] Superest ad concludendam materiolam de observatione
quoque dandi et accipiendi baptismi commonefacere. dandi
quidem summum habet ius summus sacerdos, si qui est episcopus:
dehinc presbyteri et diaconi, non tamen sine episcopi auctoritate,
propter ecclesiae honorem quo salvo salva pax est. [2] alioquin
etiam laicis ius est: 'quod enim ex aequo accipitur ex aequo
dari potest; nisi episcopi iam aut presbyteri aut diaconi vocabuntur
discentes domini: id est, ut sermo non debet abscondi ab ullo,
proinde et baptismus segue dei census ab omnibus exerceri
potest'. sed quanto magis laicis disciplina verecundiae et
modestiae incumbit cum ea [quae] maioribus competat, ne sibi
adsumant [dicatum] episcopi ofFicium. episcopates aemulatio

15 
16
20
diluuntur B.
Iudaeus om. T.
quos diluit inquinat B: non diluit s; inquinata T: non diluit quos abluit
sed inquinat solita sua felicitate tentaverat Brf.
16 5
6
7-8 
faceret Rfd.: facere BT.
perfossi B.
et sanguine oporterent Brf.: etiam sanguinem portarent B: et sanguine
porterent (sic) T: forsitan legere possis et sanguinem potarent.
17 3
6-10 
7
8

11
12
summum om. B.       si T: om. B.
quod enim. . .exerceri potest interlocutori assignabam.
vocabuntur scribebam: vocabantur T: vocantur B.
id est ut om. B: quapropter editores plerique, periodo post discentes facta,
postea domini sermo incipiunt.
quae om. B.      competant T.
dicatum om. T: dicatum episcopis Urs.

 


ON BAPTISM

35

 

only, once only are our sins washed away, because these ought
not to be committed a second time. Jewish Israel, on the other
hand, washes every day, because every day it is defiled. That this
might not become the practice among us is the reason why the
rule was laid down about a single washing. Happy is that water
which cleanses once for all, which is not a toy for sinners to amuse
themselves with, and is not tainted with repeated applications of
filth, so as to defile once more those whom it cleanses.

16   We have indeed a second washing, it too a single one, that
of blood, of which our Lord said, I have a baptism to be baptized
with,1 when he had already been baptized. For he had come by
water and blood, as John has written,2 so as to be baptized with
water and glorified with blood. Likewise, so as to give us our
vocation by water and our election by blood,3 he sent forth these
two baptisms from out of the wound of his pierced side,4 because
those who had faith in his blood were to be washed in water, and
those who had washed in water would need also (to be washed
in blood. This is the baptism which makes actual a washing
which has not been received, and gives back again one that has
been lost.

17   To round off our slight treatment of this subject it remains
for me to advise you of the rules to be observed in giving and
receiving baptism. The supreme right of giving it belongs to the
high priest, which is the bishop : after him, to the presbyters and
deacons, yet not without commission from the bishop, on account
of the Church's dignity: for when this is safe, peace is safe.
Except for that, even laymen have the right: 'for that which is
received on equal terms can be given on equal terms : unless per-
haps you are prepared to allege that our Lord's disciples were
already bishops or presbyters or deacons: that is, as the word
ought not to be hidden by any man, so likewise baptism, which is
no less declared to be "of God", can be administered by all.'
Yet how much rather are the rules of humility and restraint
incumbent upon laymen, seeing they apply to greater persons,

1 Luke 12. 50.                    2 Cf. 1 John 5. 6.
3 Cf. Matt. 22. 14.
4 Cf. John 19. 34.

 


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15




20 




25









5




schismatum mater est. omnia licere dixit sanctissimus apostolus
sed non omnia expedire. [3] sufficit scilicet in necessitatibus [ut] 
utaris sicubi aut loci aut temporis aut personae condicio compellit:
tunc enim constantia succurrentis excipitur cum urguetur
circumstantia periclitantis, quoniam reus erit perditi hominis si
supersederit praestare quod libere potuit. [4] petulantia autem 
mulieris quae usurpavit docere utique non etiam tinguendi ius
sibi rapiet, nisi si quae nova bestia venerit similis pristinae, ut
quemadmodum illa baptismum auferebat ita aliqua per se [eum]
conferat. [5] quod si quae Acta Pauli, quae perperam scripta sunt, 
exemplum Theclae ad licentiam mulierum docendi tinguendique
defendant, sciant in Asia presbyterum qui eam scripturam
construxit, quasi titulo Pauli de suo cumulans, convictum atque
confessum id se amore Pauli fecisse loco decessisse. quam enim
fidei proximum videtur ut is docendi et tinguendi daret feminae
potestatem qui ne discere quidem constanter mulieri permisit?
Taceant, inquit, et domi viros suos consulant.

CAP. 18.    [1] Ceterum baptismum non temere credendum esse sciunt
quorum officium est. Omni petenti te dato, suum habet titulum
proprie ad eleemosynam pertinentem. immo illud potius
respiciendum, Nolite dare sanctum canibus et porcis proicere
margaritam vestram, et, Manus ne facile imposueritis nec
hamartiis alienis communicaveritis. [2] quodsi quia Philippus tam 
facile tinxit eunuchum, recogitemus manifestam et exertam
dignationem domini intercessisse. spiritus Philippo praeceperat
13 
14-15 
15
16
20
21
22
23
26
27
29
mater B: matheria T.
Sufficiat . . . ut utaris B.
conditio T.
accipitur T. urguetur T: urget B (nescio an recte).
rapiet T: pariet B.       novae bestiae venerint similes T.
eum om. T.
quod si et quae sequuntur, ita pungebam. Acta om. B.
exemplum TBmg: scriptum B.
decessit T.
videretur B.
maritos B.
18:  
2
3
4
5

6
pro credendum quaero an scribendum sit cedendum.
quorum officium est B: quod scriptum est T.
proprie T: perinde B.
perspiciendum B.
margaritas vestras T (correctoris fortasse manu).     imposueritis, etc. T:
imposueris ne participes aliena delicta B.
quodsi quia T: si B.

 


ON BAPTISM

37

 

who must not arrogate to themselves the function of the bishop.
Opposition to the episcopate is the mother of schisms. The holy
apostle has said that all things are lawful but all things are not
expedient:1 which means it is enough that you should use <this
right> in emergencies, if ever conditions of place or time or person
demand it. The boldness of a rescuer is acceptable when he is
constrained to it by the necessities of the man in peril, since he
will be guilty of a man's destruction if he forbears to give the
help he is free and able to give. But the impudence of that
woman who assumed the right to teach is evidently not going to
arrogate to her the right to baptize as well - unless perhaps some
new serpent appears, like that original one,2 so that as that woman
abolished baptism, some other should of her own authority confer
it. But if certain Acts of Paul, which are falsely so named,
claim the example of Thecla for allowing women to teach and
to baptize, let men know that in Asia the presbyter who com-
piled that document, thinking to add of his own to Paul's
reputation, was found out, and though he professed he had
done it for love of Paul, was deposed from his position. How
could we believe that Paul should give a female power to teach
and to baptize, when he did not allow a woman even to learn by
her own right? Let them keep silence, he says, and ask their husbands
at home.3

18    Moreover, that baptism ought not to be rashly granted, is
known to those whose function it is. Give to everyone that asketh
thee
, has its own application, which strictly pertains to alms-
giving. One ought indeed rather to have regard to that other
<injunction>, Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast ye
your pearl before swine
,4 and, Do not lay on hands easily, nor become
sharers in others' sins
.5 But if <it is> because Philip so easily
baptized the eunuch,6 let us reflect that the Lord's manifest and
express good pleasure had intervened. The Spirit had told Philip
to turn towards that road. The eunuch himself was found not

1 Cf. 1 Cor. 6. 12. 2 Cf. Gen. 3. 1.
3 Cf. 1 Cor. 14. 35. 4 Matt. 7. 6.
5 1 Tim. 5. 22.
6 Cf. Acts 8. 26-40.

 


38

DE BAPTISMO

 


10




15




20 




25




30





in eam viam tendere: spado et ipse inventus est non otiosus nec
qui subito tingui concupisceret, sed ad templum orandi gratia
profectus scripturae divinae impressus: sic oportebat deprehendi
cui ultro deus apostolum miserat, [ad] quem rursus spiritus ut se
curriculo eunuchi adiungeret iussit: scriptura ipsius fidei | occurrit
in tempore, exhortatus adsumitur, dominos ostenditur, fides non
moratur, aqua non expectatur, apostolus perfecto negotio
abripitur. [3] sed et Paulus revera cito tinctus est: cito enim co- 
gnoverat Simon hospes vas eum esse electionis constitutum. dei
dignatio suas praemittit praerogativas : omnis petitio et decipere
et decipi potest. [4] itaque pro cuiusque personae condicione ac 
dispositione, etiam aetate, cunctatio baptismi utilior est, praecipue
tamen circa parvulos. quid enim necesse, si non tam necesse est,
sponsores etiam periculo ingeri, qui et ipsi per mortalitatem desti-
tuere promissiones suas possunt et proventu malae indolis falli?
[5] ait quidem dominos, Nolite illos prohibere ad me venire: veniant 
ergo, dum adolescunt, dum discunt, dum quo veniant docentur:
fiant Christiani cum Christum nosse potuerint. quid festinat
innocens aetas ad remissionem peccatorum? cautius agetur in
saecularibus, ut cui substantia terrena non creditur divina credatur?
norint petere salutem, ut petenti dedisse videaris. [6] non minore de 
causa innupti quoque procrastinandi, in quibus temptatio prae-
parata est tam virginibus per maturitatem quam viduis per
vagationem, donec aut nubant aut continentiae corroborentur.

   
12 
13
16
19
22
23
26
29
32
tendere T: praetendere B.
ad omittendum censuerat Gel.
post ipsius fidei deficit codex T.
tinctus Pam.: unctus B.
ac Gel.: a B.
ingeri Gel.: integri B: qui Gel.: quid B.
proventu Gel.: proventum B.
quid Gel.: quod B.
petenti Gel.: petendi B: petentibus Brf. (sed vix opus fuerat).
vagationem B: vacationem Urs.: cf. 1 Tim. 5. 13, ubi et otiosas eas viduas
esse invenias et domos circuire solitas.

 


ON BAPTISM

39

 

uninterested, nor as one who of a sudden desired to be baptized:
he had set out from home to the Temple to pray, and was intent
upon divine scripture. Such is the position a man needed to be
found in to whom God, without being asked, had sent an apostle,
whom the Spirit a second time ordered to join himself to the
eunuch's chariot. The scripture meets the man's faith just when it
is wanted: <Philip> is invited and received into the chariot: the
Lord is made known, faith makes no delay, water is there to
hand: his task completed, the apostle is caught away. It is true
that Paul also was speedily baptized:1 for Simon, his host,
speedily knew that he had been appointed a vessel of election.
God's good pleasure sends as herald its own privileges : any request
can both disappoint and be disappointed: It follows that defer-
ment of baptism is more profitable, in accordance with each
person's character and attitude, and even age: and especially so
as regards children. For what need is there, if there really is no
need, for even their sponsors to be brought into peril, seeing they
may possibly themselves fail of their promises by death, or be
deceived by the subsequent development of an evil disposition?
It is true our Lord says, Forbid them not to come to me.2  So let them
come, when they are growing up, when they are learning, when
they are being taught what they are coming to : let them be made
Christians when they have become competent to know Christ.
Why should innocent infancy come with haste to the remission
of sins? Shall we take less cautious action in this than we take in
worldly matters? Shall one who is not trusted with earthly pro-
perty be entrusted with heavenly? Let them first learn how to
ask for salvation, so that you may be seen to have given to one
that asketh.3    With no less reason ought the unmarried also to be
delayed until they either marry or are firmly established in
continence: until then, temptation lies in wait for them, for
virgins because they are ripe for it, and for widows because of
their wandering about.4   All who understand what a burden
1 Cf. Acts 9. 15. 2 Matt. 19. 14.
3 Cf. Matt. 5. 42.

4 Or perhaps, by the alteration of one letter, 'because they have too little
to do'.



40

DE BAPTISMO

 








5




10 




15





5



si qui pondus intellegant baptismi magis timebunt consecutionem
quam dilationem. fides integra secura est de salute.

CAP. 19.    [1] Diem baptismo sollemniorem pascha praestat, cum et passio
domini in qua tinguimur adimpleta est. nec incongruenter ad
figuram interpretabitur quod cum ultimum pascha dominus esset
acturus, missis discipulis ad praeparandum, Convenietis, inquit,
hominem aquam baiulantem: paschae celebrandae locum de signo
aquae ostendit. [2] exinde pentecoste ordinandis lavacris laetissimum 
spatium est, quo et domini resurrectio inter discipulos frequentata
est et gratia spiritus sancti dedicata et spes adventus domini
subostensa, quod tunc in caelos recuperato eo angeli ad apostolos
dixerunt sic venturum quemadmodum et in caelos conscendit,
utique in pentecoste. sedenim Hieremias cum dicit, Et congre-
gabo illos ab extremis terrae in die festo paschae, diem significat
et pentecostes, qui est proprie dies festus. [3] ceterum omnis dies 
domini est: omnis hora, omne tempus habile baptismo. si de
sollemnitate interest, de gratia nihil refert.

CAP. 20.    [1] Ingressuros baptismum orationibus crebris, ieiuniis et
geniculationibus et pervigiliis orare oportet, et cum confessione
omnium retro delictorum, ut exponant etiam baptismum
Ioannis: Tinguebantur, inquit, confitentes delicta sua - nobis
gratulandum est si non publice confitemur iniquitates aut tur-
pitudines nostras - simul enim de pristinis satisfacimus conflicta-
tione carnis et spiritus, et subsecuturis temptationibus munimenta
praestruimus. Vigilate et orate, inquit, ne incidatis in tempta-
tionem. [2] et ideo credo temptati sunt quoniam obdormierunt, ut 

19: 2
6
12
in qua B: in quam Urs.
latissimum Bmg. Gel.
in die festo paschae ita pungebam: cf. Hierem. 38. 7 LXX.
20: 4-6
5
7
nobis...nostras: parenthesim indicabam.
non retinendum videtur: nunc Iunius: om. Heraldus.
munimenta Gel.: monimenta B.



ON BAPTISM

41

 

baptism is will have more fear of obtaining it than of its postpone-
ment. Faith unimpaired has no doubt of its salvation.

19    The Passover provides the day of most solemnity for baptism,
for then was accomplished our Lord's passion, and into it we are
baptized. With fairly good reason we could interpret it as a
type, that when our Lord was about to keep his last Passover he
sent his disciples to make ready, with the remark, Ye shall meet
a man carrying water
.1 By the sign of water he indicated the place
for the Passover to be celebrated. After that, Pentecost is a most
auspicious period for arranging baptisms, for during it our Lord's
resurrection was several times made known among the disciples,
and the grace of the Holy Spirit first given,2 and the hope of our
Lord's coming made evident: because it was at that time, when
he had been received back into heaven, that angels said to the
apostles that he would so come in like manner as he had also
gone up into heaven, namely, at Pentecost.3 Moreover when
Jeremiah says, And I will gather them together from the ends of the
earth on the festal day of Passover
,4 he also indicates the day of
Pentecost, which is in a special sense a festal day. For all that,
every day is a Lord's day: any hour, any season, is suitable for
baptism. If there is a difference of solemnity, it makes no differ-
ence to the grace.

20    Those who are at the point of entering upon baptism ought
to pray, with frequent prayers, fastings, bendings of the knee,
and all-night vigils, along with the confession of all their former,
sins, so as to make a copy of the baptism of John: They were
baptized
, it says, confessing their sins5 (to us it is a cause for thank
fulness that we do not in public confess our sins against others or
against ourselves) : for <thus> we at once make amends for things
past by afliiction of flesh and spirit, and build up defences against
the temptations that are to follow. Watch and pray, he says, that
ye fall not into temptation
.6  And so, I think, they were tempted,
because they fell asleep,7 and in consequence deserted their Lord
1 Cf. Mark 14. 13; Luke 22. 10 2 Cf. Acts 2. 4.
3 Cf, Acts 1. 11. 4 Jer. 31. 8.
5 Matt. 3. 6. 6 Matt. 26. 41.
7 Cf. Matt. 26. 40, 43

 


42

DE BAPTISMO

 

10 




15




20




25




30






adprehensum dominum destituerint et qui cum eo perstiterit et
gladio sit usus ter etiam negaverit. nam et praecesserat dictum,
neminem intemptatum regna caelestia consecuturum. [3] ipsum 
dominum post lavacrum statim temptationes circumsteterunt
quadraginta diebus ieiuniis functum. 'ergo et nos' dicet aliquis,
'a lavacro potius ieiunare oportet.' et quis enim prohibet, nisi
necessitas gaudii gratulatio salutis? [4] sed dominus, quantulum 
aestimo, de figura Israelis exprobrationem in ipsum retorsit.
namque populus mare transgressus et in solitudinem translatus,
per quadraginta annos illic cum divinis copiis aleretur, nihilo-
minus ventris et gulae meminerat quam dei. deinde dominos,
post aquam segregates in deserta quadraginta dierum ieiunia
emensus, ostendit non pane vivere hominem dei sed dei verbo,
temptationesque plenitudini et immoderantiae ventris appositas
abstinentia elidi. [5] igitur benedicti, quos gratia dei expectat, cum 
de illo sanctissimo lavacro novi natalis ascenditis et primas manus
apud matrem cum fratribus aperitis, petite de patre, petite de
domino, peculia gratiae, distributiones charismatum subiacere.
Petite et accipietis, inquit. quaesistis enim et invenistis, pulsastis
et apertum est vobis. tantum oro, ut cum petitis etiam
Tertulliani peccatoris memineritis.

    10
15
18
27
perstiterit Gel.: praestitit B.
et quis B: ecquis Oeh.
et Gel.: est B. solitudinem Iun.: solitudine B.
gratiae Oeh.: gratis B.

 


ON BAPTISM

43

 

when he was arrested,1 and even the one who had continued with
him and had used his sword,2 also thrice denied him. For the
saying had already gone forth, that no one untempted would
attain to heavenly kingdoms. Our Lord himself after baptism
was immediately beset with temptations when he had fasted forty
days.4  'In that case', some one will say, 'we also ought by pre-
ference to fast after baptism.' And who is stopping you - except
the need for joy, for thankfulness for salvation? But our Lord,
in my small judgement, was using Israel as a type, so as to cast
back a reproach against them. For that people, when they had
crossed the sea and had been brought over into the wilderness,
though nourished there with supplies from God for forty years,
none the less had more remembrance of their belly and their
gullet than of God:5 whereupon our Lord, having gone apart
into desert places after his baptism,6 filled up the measure of forty
days' fasting, and thereby proved that the man of God is not kept
alive by bread but by the word of God, and that the temptations
attached to repletion and excess of gluttony are struck down by
abstinence.

    Therefore, you blessed ones, for whom the grace of God is
waiting, when you come up from that most sacred washing of
the new birth, and when for the first time you spread out your
hands with your brethren in your mother's house, ask of your
Father, ask of your Lord, that special grants of grace and appor-
tionments of spiritual gifts be yours.8  Ask, he says, and ye shall
receive
.9    So now, you have sought, and have found: you have
knocked, and it has been opened to you. This only I pray, that
as you ask you also have in mind Tertullian, a sinner.

1 Cf. Matt. 26. 56. 2 Cf. Matt. 26. 51, etc.
3 Cf. Eccles. 2. 1.  4 Cf. Matt. 4. 2, 3, etc.
5 Cf. Exod. 16. 3.  6 Cf. Matt. 4. 2, 4; Luke 4. 2, 4.
7 Cf. Titus 3. 5. 8 Cf. Heb. 2. 4.
9 Matt. 7. 7, 8.

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Edited and translated by Canon Ernest Evans, 1964 and published by SPCK
Transcribed by Roger Pearse, 2001
Reproduced by permission of SPCK.

Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press
SPIonic font, free from here.


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