On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)

Philip Schaff

about, by reason of their fleshly appetite, with the various conflicts of phantasies. There are some
also who as yet live wickedly, or even lie in heresies or the superstitions of the Gentiles, and yet
even then "the Lord knoweth them that are His." For, in that unspeakable foreknowledge of God,
many who seem to be without are in reality within, and many who seem to be within yet really are
without. Of all those, therefore, who, if I may so say, are inwardly and secretly within, is that
"enclosed garden" composed, "the fountain sealed, a well of living water, the orchard of
pomegranates, with pleasant fruits." The divinely imparted gifts of these are partly peculiar to
themselves, as in this world the charity that never faileth, and in the world to come eternal life;
partly they are common with evil and perverse men, as all the other things in which consist the
holy mysteries.


Chapter 28.—39. Hence, therefore, we have now set before us an easier and more simple
consideration of that ark of which Noah was the builder and pilot. For Peter says that in the ark of
Noah, "few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth
also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience
towards God)." 1580 Wherefore, if those appear to men to be baptized in Catholic unity who renounce
the world in words only and not in deeds, how do they belong to the mystery of this ark in whom
there is not the answer of a good conscience? Or how are they saved by water, who, making a bad
use of holy baptism, though they seem to be within, yet persevere to the end of their days in a
wicked and abandoned course of life? Or how can they fail to be saved by water, of whom Cyprian
himself records that they were in time past simply admitted to the Church with the baptism which
they had received in heresy? For the same unity of the ark saved them, in which no one has been
saved except by water. For Cyprian himself says, "The Lord is able of His mercy to grant pardon,
and not to sever from the gifts of His Church those who, being in all simplicity admitted to the
Church, have fallen asleep within her pale."1581 If not by water, how in the ark? If not in the ark,
how in the Church? But if in the Church, certainly in the ark; and if in the ark, certainly by water.
It is therefore possible that some who have been baptized without may be considered, through the
foreknowledge of God, to have been really baptized within, because within the water begins to be
profitable to them unto salvation; nor can they be said to have been otherwise saved in the ark
except by water. And again, some who seemed to have been baptized within may be considered,
through the same foreknowledge of God, more truly to have been baptized without, since, by making
a bad use of baptism, they die by water, which then happened to no one who was not outside the
ark. Certainly it is clear that, when we speak of within and without in relation to the Church, it is
the position of the heart that we must consider, not that of the body, since all who are within in


1 Pet. iii. 20, 21.


Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 23.