On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

NPNF (V1-04)

Philip Schaff

of him through whom, or of him to whom it is given, the sacrament itself is holy in itself on account
of Him whose sacrament it is. And if any one, receiving it at the hands of a misguided man, yet
does not receive the perversity of the minister, but only the holiness of the mystery, being closely
bound to the unity of the Church in good faith and hope and charity, he receives remission of his
sins,—not by the words which do eat as doth a canker, but by the sacraments of the gospel flowing
from a heavenly source. But if the recipient himself be misguided, on the one hand, what is given
is of no avail for the salvation of the misguided man; and yet, on the other hand, that which is
received remains holy in the recipient, and is not renewed to him if he be brought to the right way.


Chapter 13.—20. There is therefore "no fellowship between righteousness and
unrighteousness,"1413 not only without, but also within the Church; for "the Lord knoweth them that
are His," and "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." There is also
"no communion between light and darkness,"1414 not only without, but also within the Church; for
"he that hateth his brother is still in darkness."1415 And they at any rate hated Paul, who, preaching
Christ of envy and malicious strife, supposed that they added affliction to his bonds;1416 and yet the
same Cyprian understands these still to have been within the Church. Since, therefore, "neither
darkness can enlighten, nor unrighteousness justify,"1417 as Cyprian again says, I ask, how could
those men baptize within the very Church herself? I ask, how could those vessels which the large
house contains not to honor, but to dishonor, administer what is holy for the sanctifying of men
within the great house itself, unless because that holiness of the sacrament cannot be polluted even
by the unclean, either when it is given at their hands, or when it is received by those who in heart
and life are not changed for the better? of whom, as situated within the Church, Cyprian himself
says, "Renouncing the world in word only, and not in deed."1418
21. There are therefore also within the Church "enemies of God, whose hearts the spirit of
Antichrist has possessed;" and yet they, "deal with spiritual and divine things,"1419 which cannot
profit for their salvation so long as they remain such as they are; and yet neither can they pollute
them by their own uncleanness. With regard to what he says, therefore, "that they have no part
given them in the saving grace of the Church, who, scattering and fighting against the Church of


Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 15; 2 Cor. vi. 14.




1 John ii. 9.


Phil. i. 15, 16.


Cypr l.c.


Cypr Ep. xi. 1.


Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 15.