On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

Chapter 16.—21. But when it is said that "the Holy Spirit is given by the imposition of hands
in the Catholic Church only, I suppose that our ancestors meant that we should understand thereby
what the apostle says, "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost
which is given unto us."1299 For this is that very love which is wanting in all who are cut off from
the communion of the Catholic Church; and for lack of this, "though they speak with the tongues
of men and of angels, though they understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though they
have the gift of prophecy, and all faith, so that they could remove mountains, and though they
bestow all their goods to feed the poor, and though they give their bodies to be burned, it profiteth
them nothing." 1300 But those are wanting in God’s love who do not care for the unity of the Church;
and consequently we are right in understanding that the Holy Spirit may be said not to be received
except in the Catholic Church. For the Holy Spirit is not only given by the laying on of hands amid
the testimony of temporal sensible miracles, as He was given in former days to be the credentials
of a rudimentary faith, and for the extension of the first beginnings of the Church. For who expects
in these days that those on whom hands are laid that they may receive the Holy Spirit should
forthwith begin to speak with tongues? but it is understood that invisibly and imperceptibly, on
account of the bond of peace, divine love is breathed into their hearts, so that they may be able to
say, "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto
us." But there are many operations of the Holy Spirit, which the same apostle commemorates in
a certain passage at such length as he thinks sufficient, and then concludes: "But all these worketh
that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will."1301 Since, then, the
sacrament is one thing, which even Simon Magus could have;1302 and the operation of the Spirit is
another thing, which is even often found in wicked men, as Saul had the gift of prophecy;1303 and
that operation of the same Spirit is a third thing, which only the good can have, as "the end of the
commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:"1304
whatever, therefore, may be received by heretics and schismatics, the charity which covereth the
multitude of sins is the especial gift of Catholic unity and peace; nor is it found in all that are within
that bond, since not all that are within it are of it, as we shall see in the proper place. At any rate,
outside the bond that love cannot exist, without which all the other requisites, even if they can be
recognized and approved, cannot profit or release from sin. But the laying on of hands in


Rom. v. 5.


1 Cor. xiii. 1-3.


1 Cor. xii. 11.


Acts viii. 13.


1 Sam. x. 6, 10.


1 Tim. i. 5.