On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

are not the temple of God. For "what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?" If therefore
the covetous have not the Spirit of God, and yet have baptism, it is possible for baptism to exist
without the Spirit of God.
35. If therefore heresy is rendered "unable to engender sons to God through Christ, because it
is not the bride of Christ,"1558 neither can that crowd of evil men established within the Church,
since it is also not the bride of Christ; for the bride of Christ is described as being without spot or
wrinkle.1559 Therefore either not all baptized persons are the sons of God, or even that which is not
the bride can engender the sons of God. But as it is asked whether "he is spiritually born who has
received the baptism of Christ in the midst of heretics,"1560 so it may be asked whether he is spiritually
born who has received the baptism of Christ in the Catholic Church, without being turned to God
in a true heart, of whom it cannot be said that he has not received baptism.

Chapter 25.—36. I am unwilling to go on to handle again what Cyprian poured forth with signs
of irritation against Stephen, as it is, moreover, quite unnecessary. For they are but the selfsame
arguments which have already been sufficiently discussed; and it is better to pass over those points
which involved the danger of baneful dissension. But Stephen thought that we should even hold
aloof from those who endeavored to destroy the primitive custom in the matter of receiving heretics;
whereas Cyprian, moved by the difficulty of the question itself, and being most largely endowed
with the holy bowels of Christian charity, thought that we ought to remain at unity with those who
differed in opinion from ourselves. Therefore, although he was not without excitement, though of
a truly brotherly kind, in his indignation, yet the peace of Christ prevailed in their hearts, that in
such a dispute no evil of schism should arise between them. But it was not found that "hence grew
more abundant heresies and schisms,"1561 because what is of Christ in them is approved, and what
is of themselves is condemned; for all the more those who hold this law of rebaptizing were cut
into smaller fragments.

Chapter 26.—37. To go on to what he says, "that a bishop should be ‘teachable,’"1562 adding,
"But he is teachable who is gentle and meek to learn; for a bishop ought not only to teach, but to

1558

Cypr. Ep. lxxiv. 6.

1559

Eph. v. 27. Cp. Aug. Retract. ii. 18, quoted above, I. 17, 26.

1560

Cypr. Ep. lxxiv. 7.

1561

Ib.

1562

"Docibilis;" and so the passage (2 Tim. ii. 24) is quoted frequently by Augustin. The English version, "apt to teach," is
more true to the original, διδακτικός.

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