On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

received the keys, and the power of binding and loosing.1904 If any one shall neglect this house
when it arrests and corrects him, the Lord says, "Let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a
publican."1905 Of this house it is said, "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the place
where Thine honor dwelleth;"1906 and, "He maketh men to be of one mind in an house;"1907 and, "I
was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord;"1908 and, "Blessed are they
that dwell in Thy house, O Lord; they will be still praising Thee;"1909 with countless other passages
to the same effect. This house is also called wheat, bringing forth fruit with patience, some
thirty-fold, some sixtyfold, and some an hundredfold.1910 This house is also in vessels of gold and
of silver,1911 and in precious stones and imperishable woods. To this house it is said, "Forbearing
one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace;"1912 and, "For
the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."1913 For this house is composed of those that are
good and faithful, and of the holy servants of God dispersed throughout the world, and bound
together by the unity of the Spirit, whether they know each other personally or not. But we hold
that others are said to be in the house after such a sort, that they belong not to the substance of the
house, nor to the society of fruitful and peaceful justice, but only as the chaff is said to be among
the corn; for that they are in the house we cannot deny, when the apostle says, "But in a great house
there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor,
and some to dishonor."1914 Of this countless multitude are found to be not only the crowd which
within the Church afflicts the hearts of the saints, who are so few in comparison with so vast a host,
but also the heresies and schisms which exist in those who have burst the meshes of the net, and
may now be said to be rather out of the house than in the house, of whom it is said, "They went out
from us, but they were not of us."1915 For they are more thoroughly separated, now that they are


Matt. xvi. 19.


Matt. xviii. 17.


Ps. xxvi. 8.


Ps. lxviii. 6; cp. LXX. and Hieron.


Ps. cxxii. 1.


Ps. lxxxiv. 4.


Matt. xiii. 23; Luke viii. 15.


2 Tim. ii. 20.


Eph. iv. 2, 3.


1 Cor. iii. 17.


2 Tim. ii. 20. In Retract. ii. 18, Augustin says that he thinks the meaning of this last passage to be, not as Cyprian took
it, Ep. liv. 3, that the vessels of gold and silver are the good, which are to honor; the vessels of wood and earth the wicked, which
are to dishonor: but that the material of the vessels refers to the outward appearance of the several members of the Church, and
that in each class some will be found to honor, and some to dishonor. This interpretation he derives from Tychonius.


1 John ii. 19.