On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

shall enter into the kingdom of heaven is first born again of water and the Spirit, because except a
man be born of water and of the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is the
Lord’s saying, and is true; another thing to say that every one who is born of water and the Spirit
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is assuredly false. For Simon Magus also was born
of water and of the Spirit, 1621 and yet he did not enter into the kingdom of heaven; and this may
possibly be the case with heretics as well. Or if only those are born of the Spirit who are changed
with a true conversion, all "who renounce the world in word and not in deed" are assuredly not
born of the Spirit, but of water only, and yet they are within the Church, according to the testimony
of Cyprian. For we must perforce grant one of two things,—either those who renounce the world
deceitfully are born of the Spirit, though it is to their destruction, not to salvation, and therefore
heretics may be so born; or if what is written, that "the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee deceit,"1622
extends to proving as much as this, that those who renounce the world deceitfully are not born of
the Spirit, then a man may be baptized with water, and not born of the Spirit, and Nemesianus says
in vain that neither the Spirit can work without the water, nor the water without the Spirit. Indeed
it has been already often shown how it is possible that men should have one baptism in common
who have not one Church, as it is possible that in the body of the Church herself those who are
sanctified by their righteousness, and those who are polluted through their covetousness, may not
have the same one Spirit, and yet have the same one baptism. For it is said "one body," that is, the
Church, just as it is said "one Spirit" and "one baptism." The other arguments which he has adduced
rather favor our position. For he has brought forward a proof from the gospel, in the words, "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 born of God;"1623 and he has advanced the argument that therefore all things that are done by
any heretic or schismatic are carnal, as the apostle says, "The works of the flesh are manifest, which
are these: fornication, uncleanness;" and so he goes through the list which the apostle there
enumerates, amongst which he has reckoned heresies, since "they who do such things shall not
inherit the kingdom of God."1624 Then he goes on to add, that "therefore the apostle condemns with
all wicked men those also who cause division, that is, schismatics and heretics." And in this he
does well, that when he enumerates the works of the flesh, among which are also heresies, he found
and declared that the apostle condemns them all alike. Let him therefore question the holy Cyprian
himself, and learn from him how many even within the Church live according to the evil works of
the flesh, which the apostle condemns in common with the heresies, and yet these both baptize and
are baptized. Why then are heretics alone said to be incapable of possessing baptism, which is
possessed by the very partners in their condemnation?

1621

Acts viii. 13.

1622

Wisd. i. 5.

1623

John iii. 6.

1624

Gal. v. 19-21.

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