Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I/Volume V/Against Two Letters of the Pelagians/Book I/Chapter 40
Chapter 40 [XXII.]—The Sixth Objection, Concerning the Necessity of Grace for All, and Concerning the Baptism of Infants.
They say, “We confess that the grace of Christ is necessary to all, both to grown-up people and to infants; and we anathematize those who say that a child born of two baptized people ought not to be baptized.” I know in what sense you say such things as these—not according to the Apostle Paul, but according to the heretic Pelagius;—to wit, that baptism is necessary for infants, not for the sake of the remission of sins, but only for the sake of the kingdom of heaven; for you give them outside the kingdom of heaven a place of salvation and life eternal, even if they have not been baptized. Nor do you regard what is written, “Whosoever believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he who believeth not shall be condemned.” For which reason, in the Church of the Saviour, infants believe by means of other people, even as they have derived those sins which are remitted them in baptism from other people. Nor do you think thus, that they cannot have life who have been without the body and blood of Christ, although He said Himself, “Unless ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye shall have no life in you.” Or if you are forced by the words of the gospel to confess that infants departing from the body cannot have either life or salvation unless they have been baptized, ask why those who are not baptized are compelled to undergo the judgment of the second death, by the judgment of Him who condemns nobody undeservingly, and you will find what you do not want,—original sin!
- Mark xvi. 16.
- John vi. 34.