On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)


Philip Schaff

if they were such in heart when they received the sacrament, renouncing the world (as the same
Cyprian shows) in words only and not in deeds; 1395 and since even if afterwards they be brought
into the right way, the sacrament is not to be again administered which they received when they
were astray; so far as I can see, the case is already clear and evident, that in the question of baptism
we have to consider, not who gives, but what he gives; not who receives, but what he receives; not
who has, but what he has. For if men of the party of the devil, and therefore in no way belonging
to the one dove, can yet receive, and have, and give baptism in all its holiness, in no way defiled
by their waywardness, as we are taught by the letters of Cyprian himself, how are we ascribing to
heretics what does not belong to them? how are we saying that what is really Christ’s is theirs, and
not rather recognizing in them the signs of our Sovereign, and correcting the deeds of deserters
from Him? Wherefore it is one thing, as the holy Cyprian says, "for those within in the Church,
to speak in the name of Christ, another thing for those without, who are acting against the Church,
to baptize in His name."1396 But both many who are within act against the Church by evil living,
and by enticing weak souls to copy their lives; and some who are without speak in Christ’s name,
and are not forbidden to work the works of Christ, but only to be without, since for the healing of
their souls we grasp at them, or reason with them, or exhort them. For he, too, was without who
did not follow Christ with His disciples, and yet in Christ’s name was casting out devils, which the
Lord enjoined that he should not be prevented from doing;1397 although, certainly, in the point where
he was imperfect he was to be made whole, in accordance with the words of the Lord, in which He
says, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."1398
Therefore both some things are done outside in the name of Christ not against the Church, and
some things are done inside on the devil’s part which are against the Church.

Chapter 11.—18. What shall we say of what is also wonderful, that he who carefully observes
may find that it is possible that certain persons, without violating Christian charity, may yet teach
what is useless, as Peter wished to compel the Gentiles to observe Jewish customs,1399 as Cyprian
himself would force heretics to be baptized anew? whence the apostle says to such good members,
who are rooted in charity, and yet walk not rightly in some points, "If in anything ye be otherwise
minded, God shall reveal even this unto you;"1400 and that some again, though devoid of charity,
may teach something wholesome? of whom the Lord says, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in


Cypr. Ep. xi. i.


Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 14.


Luke ix. 49, 50.


Matt. xii. 30.


Gal. ii. 14.


Phil. iii. 15.