On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)


Philip Schaff

in the gospel, ‘That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit;
for the Spirit is God, and is born of God.’1616 Therefore all things whatsoever all heretics and
schismatics do are carnal, as the apostle says, ‘Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are
these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations,
wrath, seditions, heresies, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in
time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’ 1617 The apostle
condemns, equally with all the wicked, those also who cause divisions, that is, schismatics and
heretics. Unless therefore they receive that saving baptism which is one, and found only in the
Catholic Church, they cannot be saved, but will be condemned with the carnal in the judgment of
the Lord."
19. Nemesianus of Tubunæ has advanced many passages of Scripture to prove his point; but
he has in fact said much on behalf of the view of the Catholic Church, which we have undertaken
to set forth and maintain. Unless, indeed, we must suppose that he does not "trust in what is false"
who trusts in the hope of things temporal, as do all covetous men and robbers, and those "who
renounce the world in words but not in deeds," of whom Cyprian yet bears witness that such men
not only baptize, but even are baptized within the Church.1618 For they themselves also "follow
flying birds,"1619 since they do not attain to what they desire. But not only the heretic, but everyone
who leads an evil life "deserteth the ways of his own vineyard, and hath strayed from the paths of
his own field. And he walketh through pathless and dry places, and a land destined to thirst; and
he gathereth fruitless weeds in his hands;" because all justice is fruitful, and all iniquity is barren.
Those, again, who "drink strange water out of a strange fountain," are found not only among heretics,
but among all who do not live according to the teaching of God, and do live according to the teaching
of the devil. For if he were speaking of baptism, he would not say, "Do not drink of a strange
fountain," but, do not wash thyself in a strange fountain. Again, I do not see at all what aid he gets
towards proving his point from the words of our Lord, "Except a man be born of water and of the
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." 1620 For it is one thing to say that every one who


Quoniam Spiritus Deus est, et de Deo natus est. These words are found at the end of John iii. 6, in the oldest Latin Ms.
(in the Bodleian Library), and their meaning appears to be, as given in the text, that whatsoever is born of the Spirit is spirit,
since the Holy Ghost, being God, and born of, or proceeding from God, in virtue of His supreme power makes those to be spirits
whom He regenerates. If the meaning had been (as Bishop Fell takes it), that "he who is born of the Spirit is born of God," the
neuter "de Deo natum est" would have been required. To refer "Spiritus Deus est," with the Benedictines, to John iv. 24, "God
is a Spirit," reverses the grammar and destroys the sense of the passage. The above explanation is taken from the preface to
Cyprian by the monk of St. Maur (Maranus), p. xxxvi., quoted by Routh, Rel. Sac. iii. 193.


Gal. v. 19-21.


Cypr. Ep. xi. 1.


Prov. ix. 12, cp. LXX.


John iii. 5.