Augustine uses of “infusion” with regard to Justification

Augustine uses of “infusion” with regard to Justification

Augustine uses the term “infusion” (like the Council of Trent) and not “imputation” (like Luther and Calvin) when discussing God’s act of justification:

“For by this grace He engrafts into His body even baptized infants, who certainly have not yet become able to imitate any one. As therefore He, in whom all are made alive, besides offering Himself as an example of righteousness to those who imitate Him, gives also to those who believe on Him the hidden grace of His Spirit, which He secretly infuses even into infants.”

Saint Augustine, On the merits and forgiveness of sins 1:9 (A.D. 412)

Not only is this a great quote for showing that Augustine thought of justification in terms of infusion (pouring in), it also shows that Augustine believed that baptism justifies infants ex opere operato. Augustine was not a proto-Lutheran or a proto-Calvinist. He was a Catholic Christian, just like Saint Paul.

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About the Author

Taylor was an Episcopal priest in Fort Worth, Texas before being received into the Catholic Church by Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth. Taylor was also formerly the Assistant Director of the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., located three blocks north of the White House, where he lectured regularly. He was served under Archbishop John J. Myers and Msgr. William Stetson for the Pastoral Provision of John Paul II, the canonical structure by which Anglican clergy are received into the Catholic Church and then go on to pursue Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. He is a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary (M.A.R. Theology), Nashotah Theological House (Certificate in Anglican Studies), and University of Dallas (M.A. Philosophy). He is currently a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at the University of Dallas where he studies the Natural Law theory of Saint Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologiae Ia Iaa qq. 94-108). Taylor and his wife live in Dallas, Texas with their five children. He is the author of The Catholic Perspective on Paul (forthcoming). Visit his personal site at: www.taylormarshall.com Taylor is also the Editor of Christian and American at: www.christianandamerican.com.