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7. Element for baptism

Antiquities of the Christian Church
XIV. Of Baptism

7. Element for baptism

The church with great uniformity has maintained that water is the only appropriate element for baptism. But several of the fathers very early advanced notions respecting the actual presence of the Spirit in the water, strikingly analogous to the modern doctrine of transubstantiation, and sought out many fanciful reasons, why water should be used as the emblem of the Spirit. This water acquired in their opinion, as it would seem, a spiritual virtue, derived from the real presence of the Spirit residing in the water. In case of necessity, baptism with wine was allowed, but not in the earliest ages of the church. The schoolmen wearied themselves with vain discussions respecting the validity of baptism with wine, and milk, and brandy, and almost every conceivable element.

The baptismal water was exorcised, and consecrated by religious rites, and by prayer, before it was used in baptism. 

Tertull. De Bapt. c. 3, 4, 5: Anibros. De Initial, mystar. c. 4: De Sacr. lib. iii. c. 11: Cyprian De Bapt. chr. c. 4: Basil M. in Ps. 23: Gregor. Naz. Orat. 40: Chrysost. Hom. 35. in John 5:. Hom. in Acts: Augustin Ep. d3. ad Bonif. Tract, ii. in John: Cyrill. Hieros. Catech. 3. c. 5: Joh. Dramas. De Fide. ortb. lib. 2. c. 9.

Tertull. De Bapt. c. 4: Cyprian Ep. 70: Constit. apost. lib. 7. c. 43: Dyonis. Aness. De Heir. cat. 3. Ambros. De Sacr. 1. c. 5. 2. c. 5: Basil M. De Spir. S. c. 27: Augustin. De Bapt. iii. 10. V. 2. vi. 25.

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