Sunday, January 24, 2010

St. Augustine - Baptism regenerates us

St. Augustine firmly believed that the sacraments perform that which they represent; that is, he was a Catholic.

Although [Nebridius] also, not being yet a Christian, had fallen into the pit of that most pernicious error of believing Your Son to be a phantasm, yet, coming out thence, he held the same belief that we did; not as yet initiated in any of the sacraments of Your Church, but a most earnest inquirer after truth. Whom, not long after our conversion and regeneration by Your baptism, he being also a faithful member of the Catholic Church, and serving You in perfect chastity and continency among his own people in Africa, when his whole household had been brought to Christianity through him, You released from the flesh; and now he lives in Abraham's bosom. [Confessions, IX.3; emphasis added]

A Protestant reading the Confessions might get the idea that [according to his own Protestant lights] St. Augustine was already “saved” well before his baptism; St. Augustine himself makes it clear that he believed nothing of the sort. He was not saved before receiving justification by means of Holy Baptism, and he knew it.

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