On Baptism, Against The Donatists

The Seven Books of Augustin, Bishop of Hippo, On Baptism, Against the Donatists

NPNF (V1-04)

Philip Schaff

no profit to them, yet have baptism in common with the saints, as has been already sufficiently
proved with the greatest fullness. He says "that the Church, and the Spirit, and baptism, are mutually
incapable of separation from each other, and therefore" he wishes that "those who are separated
from the Church and the Holy Spirit should be understood to be separated also from baptism."1550
But if this is the case, then when any one has received baptism in the Catholic Church, it remains
so long in him as he himself remains in the Church, which is not so. For it is not restored to him
when he returns, just because he did not lose it when he seceded. But as the disaffected sons have
not the Holy Spirit in the same manner as the beloved sons, and yet they have baptism; so heretics
also have not the Church as Catholics have, and yet they have baptism. "For the Holy Spirit of
discipline will flee deceit,"1551 and yet baptism will not flee from it. And so, as baptism can continue
in one from whom the Holy Spirit withdraws Himself, so can baptism continue where the Church
is not. But if "the laying on of hands" were not "applied to one coming from heresy,"1552 he would
be as it were judged to be wholly blameless; but for the uniting of love, which is the greatest gift
of the Holy Spirit, without which any other holy thing that there may be in a man is profitless to
his salvation, hands are laid on heretics when they are brought to a knowledge of the truth.1553

Chapter 24.—34. I remember that I have already discussed at sufficient length the question of
"the temple of God," and how this saying is to be taken, "As many of you as have been baptized
into Christ have put on Christ."1554 For neither are the covetous the temple of God, since it is written,
"What agreement hath the temple of God with idols?"1555 And Cyprian has adduced the testimony
of Paul to the fact that covetousness is idolatry. But men put on Christ, sometimes so far as to
receive the sacrament, sometimes so much further as to receive holiness of life. And the first of
these is common to good and bad alike; the second, peculiar to the good and pious. Wherefore, if
"baptism cannot be without the Spirit," then heretics have the Spirit also,—but to destruction, not
to salvation, just as was the case with Saul.1556 For in the Holy Spirit devils are cast out through
the name of Christ, which even he was able to do who was without the Church, which called forth
a suggestion from the disciples to their Lord.1557 Just as the covetous have the Holy Spirit, who yet


Cypr. Ep. lxxiv. 4.


Wisd. i. 5.


Cypr. Ep. lxxiv. 5.


Cyprian, in the laying on of hands, appears to refer to confirmation, but Augustin interprets it of the restoration of penitents.
Cp. III. 16, 21.


Gal. iii. 27.


2 Cor. vi. 16.


1 Sam. xix. 23.


Mark ix. 38.