On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

added this further evil that the servant of the devil dares to celebrate the eucharist. If this be not
so, let those who stand by them prove that all of it is false concerning heretics. See the kind of
things to which the Church is compelled to assent, being forced to communicate without baptism
or the remission of sins. This, brethren, we ought to shun and avoid, separating ourselves from so
great a sin, and holding to the one baptism which is granted to the Church alone."1603
12. To this I answer, that all who even within the Church profess that they know God, but deny
Him in their deeds, such as are the covetous and envious, and those who, because they hate their
brethren, are pronounced to be murderers, not on my testimony, but on that of the holy Apostle
John,1604—all these are both devoid of hope, because they have a bad conscience; and are faithless,
because they do not do what they have vowed to God; and liars, because they make false professions;
and possessed of devils, because they give place in their heart to the devil and his angels; and their
words work corruption, since they corrupt good manners by evil communications; and they are
infidels, because they laugh at the threats which God utters against such men; and accursed, because
they live wickedly; and antichrists, because their lives are opposed to Christ; and cursed of God,
since holy Scripture everywhere calls down curses on such men; and dead, because they are without
the life of righteousness; and unpeaceful, because by their contrary deeds they are at variance with
God’s behests; and blasphemous, because by their abandoned acts despite is done to the name of
Christian; and profane, because they are spiritually shut out from that inner sanctuary of God; and
sacrilegious, because by their evil life they defile the temple of God within themselves; and servants
of the devil, because they do service to fraud and covetousness, which is idolatry. That of such a
kind are some, nay very many, even within the Church, is testified both by Paul the apostle and by
Cyprian the bishop. Why, then, do they baptize? Why also are some, who "renounce the world in
words and not in deeds," baptized without being converted from a life like this, and not rebaptized
when they are converted? And as to what he says with such indignation, "See the kind of things
to which the Church is compelled to assent, being forced to communicate without baptism or the
remission of sins," he could never have used such expressions had there not been the other bishops
who elsewhere forced men to such things. Whence also it is shown that at that time those men held
the truer views who did not depart from the primitive custom, which is since confirmed by the
consent of a general Council.1605 But what does he mean by adding, "This, brethren, we ought to
shun and avoid, separating ourselves from so great a sin?" For if he means that he is not to do nor
to approve of this, that is another matter; but if he means to condemn and sever from him those
that hold the contrary opinion, he is setting himself against the earlier words of Cyprian, "Judging
no man, nor depriving any of the right of communion if he differ from us."

1603

Conc. Carth. sec. 1.

1604

1 John iii. 15.

1605

Concilii universitate.

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