On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)


Philip Schaff

Chapter 15.—23. For it is the Church that gives birth to all, either within her pale, of her own
womb; or beyond it, of the seed of her bridegroom,—(either of herself, or of her handmaid.1187)
But Esau, even though born of the lawful wife, was separated from the people of God because he
quarrelled with his brother. And Asher, born indeed by the authority of a wife, but yet of a handmaid,
was admitted to the land of promise on account of his brotherly good-will. Whence also it was not
the being born of a handmaid, but his quarrelling with his brother, that stood in the way of Ishmael,
to cause his separation from the people of God; and he received no benefit from the power of the
wife, whose son he rather was, inasmuch as it was in virtue of her conjugal rights that he was both
conceived in and born of the womb of the handmaid. Just as with the Donatists it is by the right
of the Church, which exists in baptism, that whosoever is born receives his birth; but if they agree
with their brethren, through the unity of peace they come to the land of promise, not to be again
cast out from the bosom of their true mother, but to be acknowledged in the seed of their father;
but if they persevere in discord, they will belong to the line of Ishmael. For Ishmael was first, and
then Isaac; and Esau was the elder, Jacob the younger. Not that heresy gives birth before the Church,
or that the Church herself gives birth first to those who are carnal or animal, and afterwards to those
who are spiritual; but because, in the actual lot of our mortality, in which we are born of the seed
of Adam, "that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which
is spiritual."1188 But from mere animal sensation, because "the natural man receiveth not the things
of the Spirit of God,"1189 arise all dissensions and schisms. And the apostle says1190 that all who
persevere in this animal sensation belong to the old covenant. that is, to the desire of earthly promises,
which are indeed the type of the spiritual; but "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God."1191
24. At whatever time, therefore, men have begun to be of such a nature in this life, that, although
they have partaken of such divine sacraments as were appointed for the dispensation under which
they lived, they yet savor of carnal things, and hope for and desire carnal things from God, whether
in this life or afterwards, they are yet carnal. But the Church, which is the people of God, is an
ancient institution even in the pilgrimage of this life, having a carnal interest in some men, a spiritual
interest in others. To the carnal belongs the old covenant, to the spiritual the new. But in the first
days both were hidden, from Adam even to Moses. But by Moses the old covenant was made
manifest, and in it was hidden the new covenant, because after a secret fashion it was typified. But
so soon as the Lord came in the flesh, the new covenant was revealed; yet, though the sacraments
of the old covenant passed away; the dispositions peculiar to it did not pass away. For they still


The words in parenthesis are wanting in the Mss., and seem to have crept from the margin into the text.


1 Cor. xv. 46.


1 Cor. ii. 14.


Gal. iv.


1 Cor. ii. 14.