On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

avail to save his life, and that one wounded limb is enough to cause his death?" They certainly do
not say this, but they entrust him to the surgeon to be cured. Nor, again, because they so entrust
him, do they ask the surgeon to cure the limbs that are sound as well; but they desire him to apply
drugs with all care to the one part from which death is threatening the other sound parts too, with
the certainty that it must come, unless the wound be healed. What will it then profit a man that he
has sound faith, or perhaps only soundness in the sacrament of faith, when the soundness of his
charity is done away with by the fatal wound of schism, so that by the overthrow of it the other
points, which were in themselves sound, are brought into the infection of death? To prevent which,
the mercy of God, through the unity of His holy Church, does not cease striving that they may come
and be healed by the medicine of reconciliation, through the bond of peace. And let them not think
that they are sound because we admit that they have something sound in them; nor let them think,
on the other hand, that what is sound must needs be healed, because we show that in some parts
there is a wound. So that in the soundness of the sacrament, because they are not against us, they
are for us; but in the wound of schism, because they gather not with Christ, they scatter abroad.
Let them not be exalted by what they have. Why do they pass the eyes of pride over those parts
only which are sound? Let them condescend also to look humbly on their wound, and give heed
not only to what they have, but also to what is wanting in them.

Chapter 9.—12. Let them see how many things, and what important things, are of no avail, if
a certain single thing be wanting, and let them see what that one thing is. And herein let them hear
not my words, but those of the apostle: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the
gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so
that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."1166 What does it profit them,
therefore, if they have both the voice of angels in the sacred mysteries, and the gift of prophecy,
as had Caiaphas1167 and Saul,1168 that so they may be found prophesying, of whom Holy Scripture
testifies that they were worthy of condemnation? If they not only know, but even possess the
sacraments, as Simon Magus did;1169 if they have faith, as the devils confessed Christ (for we must
not suppose that they did not believe when they said, "What have we to do with Thee, O Son of
God? We know Thee who Thou art"1170; if they distribute of themselves their own substance to the
poor, as many do, not only in the Catholic Church, but in the different heretical bodies; if, under

1166

1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2.

1167

John xi. 51.

1168

1 Sam. xviii. 10.

1169

Acts viii. 13.

1170

Mark i. 24.

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