On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

"But what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?"1790 Further, Paul considers, and Cyprian
agrees with him, that covetousness is idolatry; and Cyprian himself again associates with his
colleagues, who were robbers, but yet baptized, with great reward of toleration.

Chapter 12.—22. Pomponius of Dionysiana1791 said: "It is manifest that heretics cannot baptize
and give remission of sins, seeing that no power is given to them that they should be able either to
loose or bind anything on earth."1792
23. The answer is: This power is not given to murderers either, that is, to those who hate their
brothers. For it was not said to such as these, "whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto
them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained."1793 And yet they baptize, and both Paul
tolerates them in the same communion of baptism, and Cyprian acknowledges them.

Chapter 13.—24. Venantius of Tinisa1794 said: "If a husband, going on a journey into foreign
countries, had entrusted the guardianship of his wife to a friend, he would surely keep her that was
entrusted to his care with the utmost diligence, that her chastity and holiness might not be defiled
by any one. Christ our Lord and God, when going to the Father, committed His bride to our care:
do we keep her uncorrupt and undefiled, or do we betray her purity and chastity to adulterers and
corrupters? For he who makes the baptism of Christ common with heretics betrays the bride of
Christ to adulterers."1795
25. We answer: What of those who, when they are baptized, turn themselves to the Lord with
their lips and not with their heart? do not they possess an adulterous mind? Are not they themselves
lovers of the world, which they renounce in words and not in deeds; and they corrupt good manners
through evil communications, saying, "Let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die?"1796 Did not
the discourse of the apostle take heed even against such as these, when he says, "But I fear, lest by
any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds [also] should be corrupted


2 Cor. vi. 16.


Dionysiana was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium. The name of Pomponius occurs in Cypr. Epp. iv., lvii., lxvii.,


Conc. Carth. sec. 48.


John xx. 23.


Tinisa (Thinisa) was in ecclesiastical province of Zeugitana. In Cypr. Ep. lxvii. the name Venantius is found.


Conc. Carth. sec. 49.


1 Cor. xv. 33, 32.