On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)

Philip Schaff

according to the decree of those most holy men, our colleagues,1609 all schismatics and heretics who
are converted to the Church ought to be baptized; and that, moreover, all that seemed to have
received ordination should be admitted as simple laymen."
17. Novatus of Thamugadis has stated what he has done, but he has brought forward no proofs
by which to show that he ought to have acted as he did. For he has made mention of the testimony
of the Scriptures, and the decree of his colleagues, but he has not adduced out of them anything
which we could consider.

Chapter 12.—18. Nemesianus of Tubunæ1610 said: "That the baptism which is given by heretics
and schismatics is not true is everywhere declared in the holy Scriptures, inasmuch as their very
prelates are false Christs and false prophets, as the Lord declares by the mouth of Solomon, ‘Whoso
trusteth in lies, the same feedeth the winds; he also followeth flying birds. For he deserteth the
ways of his own vineyard, and hath strayed from the paths of his own field. For he walketh through
pathless and dry places, and a land destined to thirst; and he gathereth fruitless weeds in his
hands.’1611 And again, ‘Abstain from strange water, and drink not of a strange fountain, that thou
mayest live long, and that years may be added to thy life.’1612 And in the gospel our Lord Jesus
Christ spake with His own voice, saying, ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot
enter into the kingdom of God.’1613 This is the Spirit which from the beginning ‘moved upon the
face of the waters.’1614 For neither can the Spirit act without the water, nor the water without the
Spirit. Ill, therefore, for themselves do some interpret, saying that by imposition of hands they
receive the Holy Ghost, and are received into the Church, when it is manifest that they ought to be
born again by both sacraments in the Catholic Church. For then indeed will they be able to become
the sons of God, as the apostle says, ‘Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of
peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one
Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God.’1615 All this the Catholic Church asserts. And again he says

The words in Cyprian are, "secundum decretum collegarum nostrorum sanctissimæ memoriæ virorum." The decree
referred to is one of the Council held by Agrippinus.


Tubunæ, a town in Mauritania Cæsariensis. Nemesianus probably same with one of that name in Cypr. Epp. lxii., lxx.,
lxxvi., lxxvii.


Prov. ix. 12, LXX., the passage being altogether absent in the Hebrew, and consequently in the English version. Probably
in N. Afr. version. The text in Erasmus is somewhat different, and was revised by the Louvain editors to bring it into harmony
with the answer of Augustin and the text of Cyprian (Conc. Carth. sec. 5).


Prov. ix. 18, LXX., possibly N. Afr. version also.


John iii. 5.


Gen. i. 2.


Eph. iv. 3-6.