Here then, those miscreants provoke questions. And so they say, “Baptism is not necessary for them to whom faith is sufficient; for withal Abraham pleased God by a sacrament of no water, but of faith.” But in all cases it is the later things which have a conclusive force, and the subsequent which prevails over the antecedent. Grant that, in days gone by, there was salvation by means of bare faith, before the passion and resurrection of the Lord. But now that faith has been enlarged, and is become a faith which believes in his nativity, passion, and resurrection, there has been an amplification added with the sacrament, viz., the sealing act of baptism; the clothing in some sense, of the faith which before was bare, and which cannot exist now without its proper law. For the law of baptizing has been imposed, and the formula prescribed: “Go,” He says, “teach the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The comparison with this law of that definition, “Unless a man have been reborn of water and Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens,” has tied faith to the necessity of baptism. Accordingly, all thereafter who became believers used to be baptized.Then it was,too, that Paul, when he believed, was baptized; and this is the meaning of the precept which the Lord had given him when smitten with the plague of loss of sight, saying, “Arise, and enter Damascus; there shall be demonstrated to you what you ought to do,” to wit — be baptized, which was the only thing lacking to him. That point excepted, he had sufficiently learnt and believed “the Nazarene” to be “the Lord, the Son of God.”
But they roll back an objection from that apostle himself, in that he said,“For Christ sent me not to baptize;” as if by this argument baptism were done away! For if so, why did he baptize Gaius, and Crispus, and the house of Stephanas? However, even if Christ had not sent him to baptize, yet He had given other apostles the precept to baptize…For preaching is the prior thing, baptizing the posterior.