On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

Chapter 32.—61. Victoricus of Thabraca1708 said: "If heretics may baptize, and give remission
of sins, why do we destroy their credit, and call them heretics?"1709
62. What if another were to say: If the unrighteous may baptize, and give remission of sins,
why do we destroy their credit, and call them unrighteous? The answer which we should give to
such an one concerning the unrighteous may also be given to the other concerning heretics,—that
is, in the first place, that the baptism with which they baptize is not theirs; and secondly, that it
does not follow that whosoever has the baptism of Christ is also certain of the remission of his sins
if he has this only in the outward sign, and is not converted with a true conversion of the heart, so
that he who gives remission should himself have remission of his sins.

Chapter 33.—63. Another Felix of Uthina1710 said: "No one can doubt, most holy brethren in
the priesthood, that human presumption has not so much power as the adorable and venerable
majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remembering then the danger, we ought not only to observe this
ourselves, but to confirm it by our general consent, that all heretics who come to the bosom of our
mother the Church be baptized, that the heretical mind, which has been polluted by long-continued
corruption, may be reformed when cleansed by the sanctification of the laver."1711
64. Perhaps the man who has placed the strength of his case for the baptizing of heretics in the
cleansing away of the long-continued corruption, would spare those who, having fallen headlong
into some heresy, had remained in it a brief space, and presently being corrected, had passed from
thence to the Catholic Church. Furthermore, he has himself failed to observe that it might be said
that all unrighteous persons who come to that rock, in which is understood the Church, should be
baptized, so that the unrighteous mind, which was building outside the rock upon the sand by
hearing the words of Christ and not doing them, might be reformed when cleansed by the
sanctification of the laver; and yet this is not done if they have been baptized already, even if it be
proved that such was their character when they were baptized, that is, that they "renounced the
world in words and not in deeds."

1708

Thabraca was on the coast of Numidia, in ecclesiastical province of that name, the frontier town towards Zeugitana, at
the mouth of the Tucca. The name of a Victoricus occurs in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii.

1709

Conc. Carth. sec. 25.

1710

Uthina was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. This Felix is to be distinguished from the bishop of Bagai, ch. 19:
A reference to a bishop of Utina is made by Tert. de Monog. ch. xii., but he cannot have been this Felix, as some assume.

1711

Conc. Carth. sec. 26.

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