On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)

Philip Schaff

37. To him we answer: If you say that the grace of baptism is identical with baptism, then it
exists among heretics; but if baptism is the sacrament or outward sign of grace, while the grace
itself is the abolition of sins, then the grace of baptism does not exist with heretics. But so there is
one baptism and one Church, just as there is one faith. As therefore the good and bad, not having
one hope, can yet have one baptism, so those who have not one common Church can have one
common baptism.

Chapter 20.—38. Zozimus of Tharassa1815 said: "When a revelation has been made of the truth,
error must give way to truth; inasmuch as Peter also, who before was wont to circumcise, gave way
to Paul when he declared the truth."1816
39. The answer is: This may also be considered as the expression of our judgment too, and
this is just what has been done in respect of this question of baptism. For after that the truth had
been more clearly revealed, error gave way to truth, when that most wholesome custom was further
confirmed by the authority of a plenary Council. It is well, however, that they so constantly bear
in mind that it was possible even for Peter, the chief of the apostles, to have been at one time minded
otherwise than the truth required; which we believe, without any disrespect to Cyprian, to have
been the case with him, and that with all our love for Cyprian, for it is not right that he should be
loved with greater love than Peter.

Chapter 21.—40. Julianus of Telepte1817 said: "It is written, ‘A man can receive nothing, except
it be given him from heaven;’1818 if heresy is from heaven, it can give baptism."1819
41. Let him hear another also saying: If covetousness is from heaven, it can give baptism.
And yet the covetous do confer it; so therefore also may the heretics.


Tharassa was in ecclesiastical province of Numidia.


Gal ii. 11; Conc. Carth. sec. 56.


Telepte (Thelepte) or Thala, was in ecclesiastical province of Byzacium.


John iii. 27.


Conc. Carth. sec. 57.