On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

according to us, there is no truth either in the former charge of treason, because we say that heretics
also may have the baptism of Christ; nor in the latter charge of delivering the books, because in
that they were themselves beaten. They have therefore no reason for separating themselves by the
wicked sin of schism, because, if our forefathers were not guilty of delivering up the books, as we
say, there is no charge which can affect us at all; but if they were guilty of the sin, as these men
say, then it is just as far from affecting us as the sin of those other traitors is from affecting either
us or them. And hence, since there is no charge that can implicate us from the unrighteousness of
our forefathers, the charge arising against them from their own schism is manifestly proved.

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Chapter 3.—4. Satius of Sicilibba1763 said: "If heretics receive forgiveness of their sins in their
own baptism, it is without reason that they come to the Church. For since it is for sins that men
are punished in the day of judgment, heretics have nothing to fear in the judgment of Christ if they
have obtained remission of their sins."1764
5. This too might also have been our own judgment; but let its author beware in what spirit it
was said. For it is expressed in terms of such import, that I should feel no compunction in consenting
and subscribing to it in the same spirit in which I too believe that heretics may indeed have the
baptism of Christ, but cannot have the remission of their sins. But he does not say, If heretics
baptize or are baptized, but "If heretics," he says, "receive forgiveness of their sins in their own
baptism, it is without reason that they come to the Church." For if we were to set in the place of
heretics those whom Cyprian knew within the Church as "renouncing the world in words alone and
not in deeds," we also might express this same judgment, in just so many words, with the most
perfect truth. If those who only seem to be converted receive forgiveness of their sins in their own
baptism, it is without reason that they are afterwards led on to a true conversion. For since it is for
sins that men are punished in the day of judgment, "those who renounce the world in words and
not in deeds" have nothing to fear in the judgment of Christ if they have obtained remission of their
sins. But this reasoning is only made perfect by some such context as is formed by the addition of
the words. But they ought to fear the judgment of Christ, and to lose no time in being converted
in the truth of their hearts; and, when they have done this, it is certainly not necessary that they
should be baptized a second time. It was possible, therefore, for them to receive baptism, and either
not to receive remission of their sins, or to be burdened again at once with the load of sins which
were forgiven them; and so the same is the case also with the heretics.

1763

Sicilibba was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. In the text of this Council the bishop’s name is Sattius, and the
name occurs in Cypr. Epp. lvii., lxvii., lxx.

1764

Con. Carth. sec. 39.

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