St. Alban was the protomartyr of England (303 A.D.) The account of his martyrdom is particularly interesting and instructive on this topic. On the way to his martyrdom, one of the guards who led him to execution was converted to Christ. The Roman Martyrology (a fallible document), as well as Butler’s Lives of the Saints, says that the guard was “baptized in his own blood.” St. Bede the Venerable, a Church historian, who also has an account of the story (and who was one of the approximately 8 fathers who are quoted in favor of baptism of blood), says that the guard’s martyrdom occurred without “the purification of Baptism.” But watch this: in recounting the story of the martyrdoms of St. Alban and his guard, St. Bede and Butler’s Lives of the Saints reveal a very important point.
St. Bede: “As he reached the summit, holy Alban asked God to give him (Alban) water, and at once a perennial spring bubbled up at his feet…” Butler: “The sudden conversion of the headsmen occasioned a delay in the execution. In the meantime the holy confessor (Alban), with the crowd, went up the hill… There Alban falling on his knees, at his prayer a fountain sprung up, with water whereof he refreshed his thirst… Together with St. Alban, the soldier, who had refused to imbrue (stain) his hands in his blood, and had declared himself a Christian, was also beheaded, being baptized in his own blood.”
The reader may be confused at this point, and rightly so, so let me explain. We have two (fallible) accounts of the martyrdom of St. Alban and his guard, from St. Bede and Butler’s Lives of the Saints. They both record that just before the martyrdom of St. Alban and his guard, St. Alban prayed for “water” which he miraculously received! St. Bede then goes on to say that the guard died unbaptized! Butler’s says that the water was merely to “refresh” Alban’s thirst! With all due respect to St. Bede and the good things in Butler’s, how obvious does it have to be? A saint, who had a few minutes to live and who had a convert wanting to enter the Church of Christ, would not call for miraculous water in order to “refresh his thirst”! My goodness, he obviously called for the miraculous water to baptize the converted guard, and God provided it for the sincere convert, since “unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” This is a prime example of how the errors of baptism of blood and desire have been perpetuated – by passing down the fallible conclusions of fallible men. And this example of St. Alban and his guard, which actually shows the absolute necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism, is frequently and falsely used against the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism.
 Quoted by Bro. Robert Mary, Father Feeney and The Truth About Salvation, Winchester, NH: St. Benedict Center, 1995, pp. 184-186.
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