Ambrose and of Augustine as examples.70 Against this background, Chrysos-tom - not to mention Ambrose and Augustine themselves - railed against the perceived indigence of delays.71 Anyone who deliberately delayed baptism was made to appear, at best, unsure where his loyalties lay or, at worst, positively opportunistic. Dwelling on the margins of the community as a catechumen came to seem a way of evading the responsibilities that came with the baptismal 'contract'. This surge in calling for full commitment to Christ and his church naturally buttressed the pious habit of bringing infants to the font.

Another circumstance in which the community is conspicuously involved in baptism occurs when a seriously ill, perhaps even unconscious, person is baptised. Several such examples are known to have occurred in North Africa. Augustine, for example, famously relates that in his youth this once happened to a friend. (The young man recovered, but when Augustine teased him about having undergone the rite, his friend was deeply offended; looking back on the event, Augustine was suitably mortified by his own callow behaviour.)72 Later, Augustine would liken the custom to baptising an infant: ' will be profitable for them because their will is already known from their Christian faith; consequently, they are baptised in the same way that infants are baptised whose will has not yet matured'.73 This practice - including the requirement for some evidence of the will or intention of the stricken catechumen - was established in African Catholicism by canon 34 ofthe Third Council of Carthage (397) and was re-affirmed in canon 45 of the council of 418.74 The question arose again some decades later when Ferrandus, a deacon in Carthage, addressed a question to Fulgentius of Ruspe: Ferrandus queried whether the baptism was legitimate in a case in which a man had followed through the entire course of catechism, only to succumb to a debilitating (and ultimately lethal) disease, and was carried to the font and baptised 'as though an infant'. Fulgentius responded in the affirmative.75

In all these cases, then, we find a willingness to act on behalf of others. Although this is clearest in cases where infants or invalids are baptised, in that

70 Paulinus, Life of Ambrose 7 (ed. Bastiaensen, 60-2); Augustine, Confessions 1.11.17 (ed. O'Donnell, 1: 9-10). It will be recalled that Ambrose was not yet baptised when he was popularly acclaimed bishop of Milan; in this, he maybe compared to Nectarius, another unbaptised man of rank who was elevated to the prominent see of Constantinople in 381 (see Sozomen, H.E. 7.8 (GCS - Sozomenus, 310-11)).

71 Chrysostom, Hom. P.-K. 1.4-11; see also Ambrose, De sacramentiis 3.13 and DeElia 22.83-5 (CSEL 322: 463-5); for Augustine, see n. 68, above.

72 Augustine, Confessions 4.4.8 (ed. O'Donnell, 1.35-6).

73 Augustine, De adulterinis coniugiis 1.26.33 (CSEL 41: 380).

74 For the council of 397, see CCSL 149: 335; for the council of 418, see PL 67:195.

75 See Fulgentius, Letters 11, 12 (PL 65: 378-87).

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