On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)


Philip Schaff

the garden enclosed and the fountain sealed," of whom Cyprian bears witness that they renounced
the world in word and not in deed, and that yet they were within the Church. For if they both are
themselves there, and are themselves the bride of Christ, can she then be as she is described "without
spot or wrinkle,"1570 and is the fair dove defiled with such a portion of her members? Are these the
thorns among which she is a lily, as it is said in the same Song?1571 So far therefore, as the lily
extends, so far does "the garden enclosed and the fountain sealed," namely, through all those just
persons who are Jews inwardly in the circumcision of the heart1572 (for "the king’s daughter is all
glorious within"1573), in whom is the fixed number of the saints predestined before the foundation
of the world. But that multitude of thorns, whether in secret or in open separation, is pressing on
it from without, above number. "If I would declare them," it is said, "and speak of them, they are
more than can be numbered."1574 The number, therefore, of the just persons, "who are the called
according to His purpose,"1575 of whom it is said, "The Lord knoweth them that are His,"1576 is itself
"the garden enclosed, the fountain sealed, a well of living water, the orchard of pomegranates with
pleasant fruits." Of this number some live according to the Spirit, and enter on the excellent way
of charity; and when they "restore a man that is overtaken in a fault in the spirit of meekness, they
consider themselves, lest they also be tempted."1577 And when it happens that they also are themselves
overtaken, the affection of charity is but a little checked, and not extinguished; and again rising up
and being kindled afresh, it is restored to its former course. For they know how to say, "My soul
melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto Thy word."1578 But when "in anything
they be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto them,"1579 if they abide in the burning
flame of charity, and do not break the bond of peace. But some who are yet carnal, and full of
fleshly appetites, are instant in working out their progress; and that they may become fit for heavenly
food, they are nourished with the milk of the holy mysteries, they avoid in the fear of God whatever
is manifestly corrupt even in the opinion of the world, and they strive most watchfully that they
may be less and less delighted with worldly and temporal matters. They observe most constantly
the rule of faith which has been sought out with diligence; and if in aught they stray from it, they
submit to speedy correction under Catholic authority, although, in Cyprian’s words, they be tossed


Eph. v. 27.


Cant. ii. 2.


Rom. ii. 29.


Ps. xlv. 13.


Ps. xl. 5.


Rom. viii. 28.


2 Tim. ii. 19.


Gal. vi. 1.


Ps. cxix. 28.


Phil. iii. 15.