On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)


Philip Schaff

it is clear that on strange children and the offspring of Antichrist the Holy Spirit cannot descend
by the laying on of hands alone, since it is clear that heretics have not baptism."1705
60. To this we answer: Are the unrighteous Christians or not? If they are Christians, why are
they not on that rock on which the Church is built? for they hear the words of Christ and do them
not. If they are not Christians, let them be made so. Else what will be the reference in the discourse
of our Lord, in which He says, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with
me scattereth abroad?" For they scatter His sheep who lead them to the ruin of their lives by a false
imitation of the Lord. Whence it is clear that upon strange children (as all the unrighteous are
called), and upon the offspring of Antichrist (which all are who oppose themselves to Christ), the
Holy Spirit cannot descend by the laying on of hands alone, if there be not added a true conversion
of the heart; since it is clear that the unrighteous, so long as they are unrighteous, may indeed have
baptism, but cannot have the salvation of which baptism is the sacrament. For let us see whether
heretics are described in that psalm where the following words are used of strange children: "Deliver
me, O Lord, from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand
is a right hand of falsehood: whose sons are like young shoots well established, and their daughters
polished after the similitude of the temple. Their garners are full, affording all manner of store;
their sheep are fruitful, bringing forth plenteously in their streets; their oxen are strong: there is no
breaking down of their fence, no opening of a passage out, no complaining in their streets. Men
deemed happy the people that is in such a case; rather blessed is the people whose God is the
Lord."1706 If, therefore, those are strange children who place their happiness in temporal things,
and in the abundance of earthly prosperity, and despise the commandments of the Lord, let us see
whether these are not the very same of whom Cyprian so speaks, transforming them also into
himself, that he may show that he is speaking of men with whom he held communion in the
sacraments: "In not keeping," he says, "the way of the Lord, nor observing the heavenly
commandments given us for our salvation. Our Lord did the will of His Father, and we do not do
the will of the Lord, being eager about our patrimony or our gains, following after pride, and so
forth."1707 But if these could both have and transmit baptism, why is it denied that it may exist
among strange children, whom he yet exhorts, that, by keeping the heavenly commandments
conveyed to them through the only-begotten Son, they should deserve to be His brethren and the
sons of God?


Conc. Carth. sec. 24.


Ps. cxliv. 11-15, so LXX. cp. Hieron. Ps. cxliii. 11-15.


Cypr. Presbyteris et diaconibus fratribus, Ep. xi. 1.