On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

possessed outside, and it would be necessary that a man should be baptized again so often as he
left the Church and again returned to it.
44. Further, if we inquire more carefully what is meant by "outside," especially as he himself
makes mention of the rock on which the Church is built, are not they in the Church who are on the
rock, and they who are not on the rock, not in the Church either? Now, therefore, let us see whether
they build their house upon a rock who hear the words of Christ and do them not. The Lord Himself
declares the contrary, saying, "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will
liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock;" and a little later, "Every one that
heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built
his house upon the sand."1674 If, therefore, the Church is on a rock, those who are on the sand,
because they are outside the rock, are necessarily outside the Church. Let us recollect, therefore,
how many Cyprian mentions as placed within who build upon the sand, that is, who hear the words
of Christ and do them not. And therefore, because they are on the sand, they are proved to be
outside the rock, that is, outside the Church; yet even while they are so situated, and are either not
yet or never changed for the better, not only do they baptize and are baptized, but the baptism which
they have remains valid in them though they are destined to damnation.
45. Neither can it be said in this place,1675 Yet who is there that doeth all the words of the Lord
which are written in the evangelic sermon itself,1676 at the end of which He says, that he who heard
the said words and did them built upon a rock, and he who heard them and did them not built upon
the sand? For, granting that by certain persons all the words are not accomplished, yet in the same
sermon He has appointed the remedy, saying, "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven."1677 And after
the Lord’s prayer had been recorded in detail in the same sermon, He says, "For I say unto you, if
ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not
men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."1678 Hence also Peter says,
"For charity shall cover the multitude of sins;"1679 which charity they certainly did not have, and on
this account they built upon the sand, of whom the same Cyprian says, that within the Church they
held conversation, even in the time of the apostles, in unkindly hatred alien from Christian charity;1680

1674

Matt. vii. 24, 26.

1675

It is pointed out by the Louvain editors that this passage shows that Augustin considered our Lord’s precept to comprehend
everything contained in the Sermon on the Mount.

1676

It is pointed out by the Louvain editors that this passage shows that Augustin considered our Lord’s precept to comprehend
everything contained in the Sermon on the Mount.

1677

Luke vi. 37.

1678

Matt. vi. 14, 15.

1679

1 Pet. iv. 8.

1680

Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 14.

685