On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

thou consentedst with him."1804 How much worse, therefore, are those who did not consent with
thieves, but themselves were wont to plunder farms with treacherous deceits? Yet Cyprian did not
consent with them, though he did tolerate them in the corn-field of the Catholic Church, lest the
wheat should be rooted out together with it. And yet at the same time the baptism which they
themselves conferred was the very selfsame baptism, because it was not of them, but of Christ. As
therefore they, although the baptism of Christ be recognized in them, were yet not excused and
defended in doing unlawful things, and Christ rightly called those His adversaries who were destined,
by persevering in such things, to hear the doom, "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity,"1805 whence
also they are called antichrists, because they are contrary to Christ while they live in opposition to
His words, so likewise is it the case with heretics.

Chapter 16.—30. Another Saturninus of Tucca1806 said: "The Gentiles, although they worship
idols, yet acknowledge and confess the supreme God, the Father and Creator. Against Him Marcion
blasphemes, and some men do not blush to approve the baptism of Marcion.1807 How do such priests
either maintain or vindicate the priesthood of God, who do not baptize the enemies of God, and
hold communion with them while they are thus unbaptized?"1808
31. The answer is this: Truly when such terms as this are used, all moderation is passed; nor
do they take into consideration that even they themselves hold communion with such men, "judging
no one, nor removing any from the right of communion if he entertain a contrary opinion." But
Saturninus has used an argument in this very judgment of his, which might furnish materials for
his admonition (if he would pay attention to it), that in each man what is wrong should be corrected,
and what is right should be approved, since he says, "The Gentiles, although they worship idols,
yet acknowledge and confess the supreme God, the Father and Creator." If, then, any Gentile of
such a kind should come to God, would he wish to correct and change this point in him, that he
acknowledged and confessed God the Father and Creator? I trow not. But he would amend in him
his idolatry, which was an evil in him; and he would give to him the sacraments of Christ, which
he did not possess; and anything that was wayward which he found in him he would correct; and
anything which had been wanting he would supply. So also in the Marcionist heretic he would


Ps. l. 16, 18.


Matt. vii. 23.


Tucca was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia. For Saturninus, see c. 15-28, n. 2.


He is alluding to Stephen, bishop of Rome, of whom Cyprian says in his Ep. lxxiv. 7 (to Pompeius): "Why has the
perverse obstinacy of our brother Stephen burst out to such a point, that he should even contend that sons of God are born of the
baptism of Marcion, also of Valentinus and Apelles, and others who blaspheme against God the Father?"


Conc. Carth. sec. 52.