On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)

Philip Schaff

learn as well, since he is indeed the better teacher who daily grows and advances by learning better
things;"1563—in these words assuredly the holy man, endowed with pious charity, sufficiently points
out that we should not hesitate to read his letters in such a sense, that we should feel no difficulty
if the Church should afterwards confirm what had been discovered by further and longer discussions;
because, as there were many things which the learned Cyprian might teach, so there was still
something which the teachable Cyprian might learn. But the admonition that he gives us, "that we
should go back to the fountain, that is, to apostolic tradition, and thence turn the channel of truth
to our times,"1564 is most excellent, and should be followed without hesitation. It is handed down
to us, therefore, as he himself records, by the apostles, that there is "one God, and one Christ, and
one hope, and one faith, and one Church, and one baptism."1565 Since then we find that in the times
of the apostles themselves there were some who had not the one hope, but had the one baptism, the
truth is so brought down to us from the fountain itself, that it is clear to us that it is possible that
though there is one Church, as there is one hope, and one baptism, they may yet have the one
baptism who have not the one Church; just as even in those early times it was possible that men
should have the one baptism who had not the one hope. For how had they one hope with the holy
and the just, who used to say, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die,"1566 asserting that there
was no resurrection of the dead? And yet they were among the very men to whom the same apostle
says, "Was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"1567 For he writes
most manifestly to them, saying, "How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the

Chapter 27.—38. And in that the Church is thus described in the Song of Songs, "A garden
enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed, a well of living water; thy
plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits;"1569 I dare not understand this save of
the holy and just,—not of the covetous, and defrauders, and robbers, and usurers, and drunkards,
and the envious, of whom we yet both learn most fully from Cyprian’s letters, as I have often shown,
and teach ourselves, that they had baptism in common with the just, in common with whom they
certainly had not Christian charity. For I would that some one would tell me how they "crept into


Cypr. Ep. lxxiv. 10.


Cypr. Ep. lxxiv. 10.


Ib. 11, and Eph. iv. 4-6.


1 Cor. xv. 32.


1 Cor. i. 13.


1 Cor. xv. 12.


Cant. iv. 12, 13.