On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

as these, except what he said just before, "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from
iniquity." And lest any one should think that, as being in one great house with them, he might
perish with such as these, he has most carefully forewarned them, "The Lord knoweth them that
are His,"—those, namely, who, by departing from iniquity, purge themselves from the vessels made
to dishonor, lest they should perish with them whom they are compelled to tolerate in the great
house.
27. They, therefore, who are wicked, evildoers, carnal, fleshly, devilish, think that they receive
at the hands of their seducers what are the gifts of God alone, whether sacraments, or any spiritual
workings about present salvation. But these men have not love towards God, but are busied about
those by whose pride they are led astray, and are compared to the adulterous woman, whom the
prophet introduces as saying, "I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my
wool and my flax, and my oil, and everything that befits me." For thus arise heresies and schisms,
when the fleshly people which is not founded on the love of God says, "I will go after my lovers,"
with whom, either by corruption of her faith, or by the puffing up of her pride, she shamefully
commits adultery. But for the sake of those who, having undergone the difficulties, and straits,
and barriers of the empty reasoning of those by whom they are led astray, afterwards feel the
prickings of fear, and return to the way of peace, to seeking God in all sincerity,—for their sake
He goes on to say, "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that
she shall not find her paths. And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them:
and she shall seek them, but she shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my
first husband; for then was it better with me than now." Then, that they may not attribute to their
seducers what they have that is sound, and derived from the doctrine of truth, by which they lead
them astray to the falseness of their own dogmas and dissensions; that they may not think that what
is sound in them belongs to them, he immediately added, "And she did not know that I gave her
corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her money; but she made vessels of gold and silver for
Baal."1329 For she had said above, "I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread," etc., not at
all understanding that all this, which was held soundly and lawfully by her seducers, was of God,
and not of men. Nor would even they themselves claim these things for themselves, and as it were
assert a right in them, had not they in turn been led astray by a people which had gone astray, when
faith is reposed in them, and such honors are paid to them, that they should be enabled thereby to
say such things, and claim such things for themselves, that their error should be called truth, and
their iniquity be thought righteousness, in virtue of the sacraments and Scriptures, which they hold,
not for salvation, but only in appearance. Accordingly, the same adulterous woman is addressed
by the mouth of Ezekiel: "Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which
I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them;

1329

Hos. ii. 5-8, cp. LXX.

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