On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)


Philip Schaff

Chapter 9.—13. The elder Felix1606 of Migirpa said: "I think that every one coming from heresy
should be baptized. For in vain does any one suppose that he has been baptized there, seeing that
there is no baptism save the one true baptism in the Church; for there is one Lord, and one faith,
and one Church, in which rests the one baptism, and holiness, and the rest. For the things that are
practised without have no power to work salvation."
14. To what Felix of Migirpa said we answer as follows. If the one true baptism did not exist
except in the Church, it surely would not exist in those who depart from unity. But it does exist in
them, since they do not receive it when they return, simply because they had not lost it when they
departed. But as regards his statement, that "the things that are practised without have no power
to work salvation," I agree with him, and think that it is quite true; for it is one thing that baptism
should not be there, and another that it should have no power to work salvation. For when men
come to the peace of the Catholic Church, then what was in them before they joined it, but did not
profit them, begins at once to profit them.

Chapter 10.—15. To the declaration of Polycarp of Adrumetum,1607 that "those who declare
the baptism of heretics to be valid, make ours of none effect," we answer, if that is the baptism of
heretics which is given by heretics, then that is the baptism of the covetous and murderers which
is given by them within the Church. But if this be not their baptism, neither is the other the baptism
of heretics; and so it is Christ’s, by whomsoever it be given.

Chapter 11.—16. Novatus of Thamugadis1608 said: "Though we know that all Scripture gives
its testimony respecting saving baptism, yet we ought to express our belief that heretics and
schismatics, coming to the Church with the semblance of having been baptized, ought to be baptized
in the unfailing fountain; and that therefore, according to the testimony of the Scriptures, and


This section is wanting in the Mss. and in the edition of Amerbach, so that it has been supposed to have been added by
Erasmus from Cyprian (Conc. Carth. sec. 2),—the name of Felix (really Primus), which is not found in Cyprian, being derived
from the following section of Augustin. So Hartel: Primas a Misgirpa dixit. Migirpa or Misgirpa, was in Zeugitana. This
Primus is seemingly identical with the Primus of Cypr. Epp. 67 (following Cæcilius), and 70 (preceding Cæcilius).


Adrumetum (Hadrumetum) was an ancient Phœnician settlement, made a Roman colony by Trajan, on the coast of the
Sinus Neapolitanus, some ninety miles south-east of Carthage, capital of Byzacium. Cyprian writes to Bp. Cornelius, Ep. xlviii.,
vindicating Polycarp: his name occurs also in the titles of Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii. (after Primus), and lxx. (after Cæcilius).


Thamugadis (Thamogade), a town in Numidia, on the east side of Mount Aurasius. The whole opinion of Novatus (Conc.
Carth. sec. 4), is omitted in the Mss.