On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

by us with patience and gentleness. For this cause we have also, so far as our poor ability admitted,
by the permission and inspiration of the Lord, written now a treatise on the benefit of patience,1377
which we have sent to you in consideration of our mutual affection."1378

Chapter 9.—13. By this patience of Christian love he not only endured the difference of opinion
manifested in all kindliness by his good colleagues on an obscure point, as he also himself received
toleration, till, in process of time, when it so pleased God, what had always been a most wholesome
custom was further confirmed by a declaration of the truth in a plenary Council, but he even put
up with those who were manifestly bad, as was very well known to himself, who did not entertain
a different view in consequence of the obscurity of the question, but acted contrary to their preaching
in the evil practices of an abandoned life, as the apostle says of them, "Thou that preachest a man
should not steal, dost thou steal?"1379 For Cyprian says in his letter of such bishops of his own time,
his own colleagues, and remaining in communion with him, "While they had brethren starving in
the Church, they tried to amass large sums of money, they took possession of estates by fraudulent
proceedings, they multiplied their gains by accumulated usuries."1380 For here there is no obscure
question. Scripture declares openly, "Neither covetous nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom
of God;"1381 and "He that putteth out his money to usury,"1382 and "No whoremonger, nor unclean
person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of
God."1383 He therefore certainly would not, without knowledge, have brought accusations of such
covetousness, that men not only greedily treasured up their own goods, but also fraudulently
appropriated the goods of others, or of idolatry existing in such enormity as he understands and
proves it to exist; nor assuredly would he bear false witness against his fellow-bishops. And yet
with the bowels of fatherly and motherly love he endured them, lest that, by rooting out the tares
before their time, the wheat should also have been rooted up,1384 imitating assuredly the Apostle
Paul, who, with the same love towards the Church, endured those who were ill-disposed and envious
towards him.1385

1377

This treatise is still extant. See Trans. in Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. V. 484-490.

1378

Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 26.

1379

Rom. ii. 21.

1380

Cypr. de Lapsis. c. vi.

1381

1 Cor. vi. 10.

1382

Ps. xv. 5.

1383

Eph. v. 5.

1384

Matt. xiii. 29.

1385

Phil. i. 15-18.

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