On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

41. To this we may answer almost word for word: Murderers may either do nothing or
everything. If they can baptize, they can also give the Holy Spirit; but if they cannot give the Holy
Spirit, because they do not possess the Holy Spirit, then can they not either spiritually baptize.
Therefore we give our judgment that persons baptized by murderers, or murderers themselves who
have been baptized without being converted, should, when they have corrected themselves, be
baptized. Yet this is not true. For "whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer;"1669 and Cyprian
knew such men within the Church, who certainly baptized. Therefore it is to no purpose that words
of this sort are used concerning heretics.

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Chapter 24.—42. Fortunatus of Thuccabori1670 said: "Jesus Christ our Lord and God, the Son
of God the Father and Creator, built His Church upon a rock, not upon heresy, and gave the power
of baptizing to bishops, not to heretics. Wherefore those who are outside the Church, and stand
against Christ, scattering His sheep and flock, cannot baptize outside."1671
43. He added the word "outside" in order that he might not be answered with a like brevity to
Successus. For otherwise he might also have been answered word for word: Jesus Christ our Lord
and God, the Son of God the Father and Creator, built His Church upon a rock, not upon iniquity,
and gave the power of baptizing to bishops, not to the unrighteous. Wherefore those who do not
belong to the rock on which they build, who hear the word of God and do it, 1672 but, living contrary
to Christ in hearing the word and not doing it, and hereby building on the sand, in this way scatter
His sheep and flock by the example of an abandoned character, cannot baptize. Might not this be
said with all the semblance of truth? and yet it is false. For the unrighteous do baptize, since those
robbers are unrighteous whom Cyprian maintained to be at unity with himself.1673 But for this
reason, says the Donatist, he adds "outside." Why therefore can they not baptize outside? Is it
because they are worse from the very fact that they are outside? But it makes no difference, in
respect of the validity of baptism, how much worse the minister may be. For there is not so much
difference between bad and worse as between good and bad; and yet, when the bad baptizes, he
gives the selfsame sacrament as the good. Therefore, also, when the worse baptizes, he gives the
selfsame sacrament as the less bad. Or is it that it is not in respect of man’s merit, but of the
sacrament of baptism itself, that it cannot be given outside? If this were so, neither could it be

1669

1 John iii. 15.

1670

Thuccabori, Tucca or Terebrinthina, in ecclesiastical province of Africa Proconsularis or Zeugitana. For Bp. Fortunatus,
see Cypr. Epp. xlviii., lvi., lvii. (the first), lxvii., lxx.

1671

Conc. Carth. sec. 17.

1672

Matt. vii. 24.

1673

Cypr. Serm. de Laps.

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