August 22, 2019

The Enchiridion, on Faith, Hope and Charity day 6

Theological Virtues Per St Augustine, Doctor of the Church, Bishop of Hippo (354-430AD)

The Enchiridion, or Handbook, is addressed to Laurentius, in answer to his questions. One manuscript calls him a deacon, another a notary of the city of Rome. St. Augustine wrote it sometime after the death of Jerome (September 30, 420), for he alludes in Chapter 87 to Jerome of blessed memory. St Jerome is one of four Doctors of the Church in this age, and baptized St Augustine into “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

Faith : cont (ch42-52)

Chapter 42. The Sacrament of Baptism Indicates Our Death with Christ to Sin, and Our Resurrection with Him to Newness of Life.

And this is the meaning of the great sacrament of baptism which is solemnized among us, that all who attain to this grace should die to sin, as He is said to have died to sin, because He died in the flesh, which is the likeness of sin; and rising from the font regenerate, as He arose alive from the grave, should begin a new life in the Spirit, whatever may be the age of the body?

Chapter 43. Baptism and the Grace Which It Typifies are Open to All, Both Infants and Adults.

But even these latter are frequently said to die to sin, though undoubtedly they die not to one sin, but to all the numerous actual sins they have committed in thought, word, or deed: for the singular number is often put for the plural, as when the poet says, They fill its belly with the armed soldier, though in the case here referred to there were many soldiers concerned. And we read in our own Scriptures: Pray to the Lord, that He take away the serpent from us. He does not say serpents though the people were suffering from many; and so in other cases. When, on the other hand, the original sin is expressed in the plural number, as when we say that infants are baptized for the remission of sins, instead of saying for the remission of sin, this is the converse figure of speech, by which the plural number is put in place of the singular; as in the Gospel it is said of the death of Herod, for they are dead which sought the young child’s life, instead of saying, he is dead. And in Exodus: They have made them, Moses says, gods of gold, though they had made only one calf, of which they said: These be your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt, — here, too, putting the plural in place of the singular.

Chapter 44. In Speaking of Sin, the Singular Number is Often Put for the Plural, and the Plural for the Singular.

But even these latter are frequently said to die to sin, though undoubtedly they die not to one sin, but to all the numerous actual sins they have committed in thought, word, or deed: for the singular number is often put for the plural, as when the poet says, They fill its belly with the armed soldier, though in the case here referred to there were many soldiers concerned. And we read in our own Scriptures: Pray to the Lord, that He take away the serpent from us. He does not say serpents though the people were suffering from many; and so in other cases. When, on the other hand, the original sin is expressed in the plural number, as when we say that infants are baptized for the remission of sins, instead of saying for the remission of sin, this is the converse figure of speech, by which the plural number is put in place of the singular; as in the Gospel it is said of the death of Herod, for they are dead which sought the young child’s life, instead of saying, he is dead. And in Exodus: They have made them, Moses says, gods of gold, though they had made only one calf, of which they said: These be your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt, — here, too, putting the plural in place of the singular.

Chapter 45. In Adam’s First Sin, Many Kinds of Sin Were Involved.

(Gen2:16-17) Woman Falls – (2Tim2:13-14)

However, even in that one sin, which by one man entered into the world, and so passed upon all men, and on account of which infants are baptized, a number of distinct sins, may be observed, if it be analyzed as it were into its separate elements. For there is in it (1) PRIDE, because man chose to be under his own dominion, rather than under the dominion of God; and (2) BLASPHEMY, because he did not believe God; and (3) MURDER,(suicide) for he brought death upon himself; and (4) spiritual FORNICATION, for the purity of the human nature soul was corrupted by the seducing blandishments of the serpent; and (5) THEFT, for man turned to his own use the food he had been forbidden to touch; and (6) AVARICE, for he had a craving for more than should have been sufficient for him; and whatever other sin can be discovered on careful reflection to be involved in this one admitted sin.

Chapter 46. It is Probable that Children are Involved in the Guilt Not Only of the First Pair, But of Their Own Immediate Parents.

And it is said, with much appearance of probability, that infants are involved in the guilt of the sin not only of the first pair, but of their own immediate parents. For that divine judgment, I shall visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, certainly applies to them before they come under the new covenant by regeneration. And it was this new covenant that was prophesied of, when it was said by Ezekiel, that the sons should not bear the iniquity of the fathers, and that it should no longer be a proverb in Israel, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”(Ezk18:2);(Jer31:29). Here lies the necessity that each man should be born again, that he might be freed from the sin, in which he was born. For the sins, committed afterwards can be cured by penitence, as we see is the case after baptism. And therefore the new birth would not have been appointed only that the first birth was sinful, so sinful that even one who was legitimately born in wedlock says: I was shapen in iniquities, and in sins, did my mother conceive me. He did not say in iniquity, or in sin, though he might have said so correctly; but he preferred to say iniquities and sins, because in that one sin, which passed upon all men, and which was so great that human nature was by it made subject to inevitable death, many sins, as I showed above, may be discriminated; and further, because there are other sins, of the immediate parents, which though they have not the same effect in producing a change of nature, yet subject the children to guilt unless the divine grace and mercy interpose to rescue them.

Chapter 47. It is Difficult to Decide Whether the Sins of a Man’s Other Progenitors are Imputed to Him.

But about the sins of the other progenitors who intervene between Adam and a man’s own parents, a question may very well be raised. Whether every one who is born is involved in all their accumulated evil acts, in all their multiplied original guilt, so that the later he is born, so much the worse is his condition; or whether God threatens to visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generations, because in His mercy He does not extend His wrath against the sins of the progenitors further than that, lest those who do not obtain the grace of regeneration might be crushed down under too heavy a burden if they were compelled to bear as original guilt all the sins of all their progenitors from the very beginning of the human race, and to pay the penalty due to them; or whether any other solution of this great question may or may not be found in Scripture by a more diligent search and a more careful interpretation, I dare not rashly affirm.

Chapter 48. The Guilt of the First Sin is So Great that It Can Be Washed Away Only in the Blood of the Mediator, Jesus Christ.

Nevertheless, that one sin, admitted into a place where such perfect happiness reigned, was of so heinous a character, that in one man the whole human race was originally, and as one may say, radically, condemned; and it cannot be pardoned and blotted out except through the one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who only has had power to be so born as not to need a second birth.

Chapter 49. Christ Was Not Regenerated in the Baptism of John, But Submitted to It to Give Us an Example of Humility, Just as He Submitted to Death, Not as the Punishment of Sin, But to Take Away the Sin of the World.

Theophany – Jesus Institutes Baptism in Act of Humility

Now, those who were baptized in the baptism of John, by whom Christ was Himself baptized, were not regenerated; but they were prepared through the ministry of His forerunner, who cried, Prepare the way of the Lord, for Him in whom only they could be regenerated. For His baptism is not with water only, as was that of John, but with the Holy Ghost also; so that whoever believes in Christ is regenerated by that Spirit, of whom Christ being generated, He did not need regeneration. Whence that announcement of the Father which was heard after His baptism, “This day have I begotten You”[(Ps2:7); Mt3:16-17); (Lk3:21-22);(Acts13:33); Heb1:5,5:5)] , referred not to that one day of time on which He was baptized, but to the one day of an unchangeable eternity, so as to show that this man was one in person with the Only-begotten. For when a day neither begins with the close of yesterday, nor ends with the beginning of tomorrow, it is an eternal today. Therefore He asked to be baptized in water by John, not that any iniquity of His might be washed away, but that He might manifest the depth of His humility. For baptism found in Him nothing to wash away, as death found in Him nothing to punish; so that it was in the strictest justice, and not by the mere violence of power, that the devil was crushed and conquered: for, as he had most unjustly put Christ to death, though there was no sin in Him to deserve death, it was most just that through Christ he should lose his hold of those who by sin were justly subject to the bondage in which he held them. Both of these, then, that is, both baptism and death, were submitted to by Him, not through a pitiable necessity, but of His own free pity for us, and as part of an arrangement by which, as one man brought sin into the world, that is, upon the whole human race, so one man was to take away the sin of the world.

Chapter 50. Christ Took Away Not Only the One Original Sin, But All the Other Sins that Have Been Added to It.

With this difference: the first man brought one sin into the world, but this man took away not only that one sin, but all that He found added to it. Hence the apostle says: And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For it is evident that the one sin which we bring with us by nature would, even if it stood alone, bring us under condemnation; but the free gift justifies man from many offenses: for each man, in addition to the one sin which, in common with all his kind, he brings with him by nature, has committed many sin that are strictly his own.

Chapter 51. All Men Born of Adam are Under Condemnation, and Only If New Born in Christ are Freed from Condemnation.

But what he says a little after, Therefore, as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life, shows clearly enough that there is no one born of Adam but is subject to condemnation, and that no one, unless he be new born in Christ, is freed from condemnation.

Chapter 52. In Baptism, Which is the Similitude of the Death and Resurrection of Christ, All, Both Infants and Adults, Die to Sin that They May Walk in Newness of Life.

Resurrection of Christ , Greek Icon

And after he has said as much about the condemnation through one man, and the free gift through one man, as he deemed sufficient for that part of his epistle, the apostle goes on to speak of the great mystery of holy baptism in the cross of Christ,and to clearly explain to us that baptism in Christ is nothing else than a similitude of the death of Christ, and that the death of Christ on the cross is nothing but a similitude of the pardon of sin: so that just as real as is His death, so real is the remission of our sins; and just as real as is His resurrection, so real is our justification. He says: What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? For he had said previously, But where sin, abounded, grace did much more abound. And therefore he proposes to himself the question, whether it would be right to continue in sin for the sake of the consequent abounding grace. But he answers, God forbid; and adds, How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Then, to show that we are dead to sin, Do you not know, he says, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? If, then, the fact that we were baptized into the death of Christ proves that we are dead to sin, it follows that even infants who are baptized into Christ die to sin, being baptized into His death. For there is no exception made: So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, baptized into His death. And this is said to prove that we are dead to sin. Now, to what sin do infants die in their regeneration but that sin which they bring with them at birth? And therefore to these also applies what follows: Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him: knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more; death has no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once; but in that He lives, He lives unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Now he had commenced with proving that we must not continue in sin that grace may abound, and had said: How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein? And to show that we are dead to sin, he added: Do you not know, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into His death? And so he concludes this whole passage just as he began it. For he has brought in the death of Christ in such a way as to imply that Christ Himself also died to sin. To what sin did He die if not to the flesh, in which there was not sin, but the likeness of sin, and which was therefore called by the name of sin? To those who are baptized into the death of Christ then — and this class includes not adults only, but infants as well — he says: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

CityofGod.blog Faith hope and Charity day 7 posting for 3/15

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