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 34.—65. Quietus of Burug1712 said: "We who live by faith ought with believing
observance to obey what has been before foretold for our instruction. For it is written in Solomon,
‘He that is washed by one dead, what availeth his washing?’1713 Which assuredly he says of those
who are washed by heretics, and of those who wash. For if they who are baptized among them
receive eternal life through the remission of their sins, why do they come to the Church? But if no
salvation is received from a dead person, and they therefore, acknowledging their former error,
return with penance to the truth, they ought to be sanctified with the one life-giving baptism which
is in the Catholic Church." 1714
66. What it is to be baptized by the dead, we have already, without prejudice to the more careful
consideration of the same scripture, sufficiently declared before.1715 But I would ask why it is that
they wish heretics alone to be considered dead, when Paul the apostle has said generally of sin,
"The wages of sin is death;"1716 and again, "To be carnally minded is death."1717 And when he says
that a widow that liveth in pleasure is dead,1718 how are they not dead "who renounce the world in
words and not in deeds"? What, therefore, is the profit of washing in him who is baptized by them,
except, indeed, that if he himself also is of the same character, he has the laver indeed, but it does
not profit him to salvation? But if he by whom he is baptized is such, but the man who is baptized
is turned to the Lord with no false heart, he is not baptized by that dead person, but by that living
One of whom it is said, "The same is He which baptizeth."1719 But to what he says of heretics, that
if they who are baptized among them receive eternal life through the remission of their sins, why
do they come to the Church? we answer: They come for this reason, that although they have
received the baptism of Christ up to the point of the celebration of the sacrament, yet they cannot
attain to life eternal save through the charity of unity; just as neither would those envious and
malicious ones attain to life eternal, who would not have their sins forgiven them, even if they
entertained hatred only against those from whom they suffered wrong; since the Truth said, "If ye
forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses,"1720 how much

1712

Burug (Buruc) or Burca was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. Quietus may be identical with the one mentioned in
Cypr. Ep. lxvii.

1713

In the English version this is, "He that washeth himself after touching a dead body, if he touch it again, what availeth his
washing?"—Ecclus. xxxiv. 25.

1714

Conc. Carth. sec. 27.

1715

Contra Parmenianum, II. 10. 22.

1716

Rom. vi. 23.

1717

Rom. viii. 6.

1718

1 Tim. v. 6.

1719

John i. 33.

1720

Matt. vi. 15.

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