On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)

Philip Schaff

Chapter 20.—34. Polianus of Mileum1658 said: "It is right that a heretic should be baptized in
the holy Church."1659
35. Nothing, indeed, could be expressed more shortly. But I think this too is short: It is right
that the baptism of Christ should not be depreciated in the Church of Christ.


Chapter 21.—36. Theogenes of Hippo Regius1660 said: "According to the sacrament of the
heavenly grace of God which we have received, we believe in the one only baptism which is in the
holy Church."1661
37. This may be my own judgment also. For it is so balanced, that it contains nothing contrary
to the truth. For we also believe in the one only baptism which is in the holy Church. Had he said,
indeed, We believe in that which is in the holy Church alone, the same answer must have been
made to him as to the rest. But as it is, since he has expressed himself in this wise, "We believe in
the one only baptism which is in the holy Church," so that it is asserted that it exists in the holy
Church, but not denied that it may be elsewhere as well, whatever his meaning may have been,
there is no need to argue against these words. For if I were questioned on the several points, first,
whether there was one baptism, I should answer that there was one. Then if I were asked, whether
this was in the holy Church, I should answer that it was. In the third place, if it were asked whether
I believed in this baptism, I should answer that I did so believe; and consequently I should answer
that I believed in the one baptism which is in the holy Church. But if it were asked whether it was
found in the holy Church alone, and not among heretics and schismatics, I should answer that, in
common with the whole Church, I believed the contrary. But since he did not insert this in his
judgment, I should consider that it was mere wantonness if I added words which I did not find
there, for the sake of arguing against them. For if he were to say, There is one water of the river
Euphrates, which is in Paradise, no one could gainsay the truth of what he said. But if he were
asked whether that water were in Paradise and nowhere else, and were to say that this was so, he
would be saying what was false. For, besides Paradise, it is also in those lands into which it flows
from that source. But who is rash enough to say that he would have been likely to assert what is
false, when it is quite possible that he was asserting what is true? Wherefore the words of this
judgment require no contradiction, because they in no wise run counter to the truth.


Mileum, Milevis, Mileve, in ecclesiastical province of Numidia, noted as the seat of two Councils 402 A.D. and 416
A.D.; also as the See of Optatus. Polianus is most likely to be identified with the one in Cypr. Epp. lxxvi., lxxix.


Conc. Cath. sec. 13.


Hippo Regius, the see of Augustin himself, in ecclesiastical province of Numidia.


Conc. Carth. sec. 14.—C.D.H.