On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

50. This man may thus be answered word for word: He who says that malicious and envious
persons have the power of baptizing, should first say who was the founder of malice and envy.
For if malice and envy are of God, they may have the divine favor; but if they are not of God, how
can they either have or confer on any one the grace of God? But as these words are in the same
way most manifestly false, so are also those which these were uttered to confute. For the malicious
and envious baptize, as even Cyprian himself allows, because he bears testimony that they also are
within. So therefore even heretics may baptize, because baptism is the sacrament of Christ; but
envy and heresy are the works of the devil. Yet though a man possesses them, he does not thereby
cause that if he have the sacrament of Christ, it also should itself be reckoned in the number of the
devil’s works.

Chapter 27.—51. Privatus of Sufes1689 said: "What can be said of the man who approves the
baptism of heretics, save that he communicates with heretics?"1690
52. To this we answer: It is not the baptism of heretics which we approve in heretics, as it is
not the baptism of the covetous, or the treacherous, or deceitful, or of robbers, or of envious men
which we approve in them; for all of these are unjust, but Christ is just, whose sacrament existing
in them, they do not in its essence violate. Otherwise another man might say: What can be said
of the man who approves the baptism of the unjust, save that he communicates with the unjust.
And if this objection were brought against the Catholic Church herself, it would be answered just
as I have answered the above.

Chapter 28.—53. Hortensianus of Lares1691 said: "How many baptisms there are, let those who
uphold or favor heretics determine. We assert one baptism of the Church, which we only know in
the Church. Or how can those baptize any one in the name of Christ whom Christ Himself declares
to be His enemies?"1692
54. Giving answer to this man in a like tenor of words, we say: Let those who uphold or favor
the unrighteous see to it: we recall to the Church when we can the one baptism which we know to
be of the Church alone, wherever it be found. Or how can they baptize any one in the name of
Christ whom Christ Himself declares to be His enemies? For He says to all the unrighteous, "I

1689

See n. 6. p. 475.

1690

Conc. Carth. sec. 20.

1691

Lares, in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. Hortensianus is very likely the same as the one in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxx.

1692

Conc. Carth. sec. 21.

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