On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

them without the baptism of Christ, when, if we only so much as bid them God speed, we are
partakers of their evil deeds?"1877
89. In respect of this testimony of John there is no need of further disputation, since it has no
reference at all to the question of baptism, which we are at present discussing. For he says, "If any
come unto you, and bring not the doctrine of Christ." But heretics leaving the doctrine of their
error are converted to the doctrine of Christ, that they may be incorporated with the Church, and
may begin to belong to the members of that Dove whose sacrament they previously had; and
therefore what previously they lacked belonging to it is given to them, that is to say, peace and
charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.1878 But what they
previously had belonging to the Dove is acknowledged, and received without any depreciation;
just as in the adulteress God recognises His gifts, even when she is following her lovers; because
when after her fornication is corrected she is turned again to chastity, those gifts are not laid to her
charge, but she herself is corrected.1879 But just as Cyprian might have defended himself if this
testimony of John had been cast in his teeth whilst he was holding communion with men like these,
so let those against whom it is spoken make their own defense. For to the question before us, as I
said before, it has no reference at all. For John says that we are not to bid God speed to men of
strange doctrine; but Paul the apostle says, with even greater vehemence, "If any man that is called
a brother be covetous, or a drunkard," or anything of the sort, with such an one no not to eat;1880
and yet Cyprian used to admit to fellowship, not with his private table, but with the altar of God,
his colleagues who were usurers, and treacherous, and fraudulent, and robbers. But in what manner
this may be defended has been sufficiently set forth in other books already.

Chapter 46.—90. Litteus1881 of Gemelli1882 said: "‘If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into
the ditch.’1883 Since, therefore, it is clear that heretics can give no light1884 to any one, as being blind
themselves, therefore their baptism is invalid."1885

1877

Conc. Carth. sec. 81.

1878

1 Tim. i. 5.

1879

Hos. ii.

1880

1 Cor. v. 11.

1881

Some read Licteus; not unlikely the bishop of Cypr. Ep. lxxvi.

1882

Gemelli was a Roman colony in ecclesiastical province of Numidia.

1883

Matt xv. 14.

1884

Illuminare; baptism being often called φωτισμός.

1885

Conc. Carth. sec. 82.

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