On Baptism, Against The Donatists

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

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Philip Schaff

Christ, are called adversaries by Christ Himself, and antichrists by His apostles,1420 this must be
received under the consideration that there are men of this kind both within and without. But the
separation of those that are within from the perfection and unity of the dove is not only known in
the case of some men to God, but even in the case of some to their fellow-men; for, by regarding
their openly abandoned life and confirmed wickedness, and comparing it with the rules of God’s
commandments, they understand to what a multitude of tares and chaff, situated now some within
and some without, but destined to be most manifestly separated at the last day, the Lord will then
say, "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity,"1421 and "Depart into everlasting fire, prepared for the
devil and his angels."1422

Chapter 14.—22. But we must not despair of the conversion of any man, whether situated
within or without, so long as "the goodness of God leadeth him to repentance,"1423 and "visits their
transgressions with the rod, and their inquiry with stripes." For in this way "He does not utterly
take from them His loving-kindness,"1424 if they will themselves sometimes "love their own soul,
pleasing God."1425 But as the good man "that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved,"1426
so the bad man, whether within or without, who shall persevere in his wickedness to the end, shall
not be saved. Nor do we say that "all, wheresoever and howsoever baptized, obtain the grace of
baptism,"1427 if by the grace of baptism is understood the actual salvation which is conferred by the
celebration of the sacrament; but many fail to obtain this salvation even within the Church, although
it is clear that they possess the sacrament, which is holy in itself. Well, therefore, does the Lord
warn us in the gospel that we should not company with ill-advisers,1428 who walk under the pretence
of Christ’s name; but these are found both within and without, as, in fact, they do not proceed
without unless they have first been ill-disposed within. And we know that the apostle said of the
vessels placed in the great house, "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel
unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work."1429 But
in what manner each man ought to purge himself from these he shows a little above, saying, "Let

1420

Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 15.

1421

Matt. vii. 23.

1422

Matt. xxv. 41.

1423

Rom. ii. 4.

1424

Ps. lxxxix. 32, 33.

1425

Ecclus. xxx. 23. The words, "placentes Deo" are derived from the Latin version only.

1426

Matt. xxiv. 13.

1427

From a letter of Pope Stephen’s, quoted Cypr. Ep. lxxiii. 16.

1428

Mark xiii. 21.

1429

2 Tim. ii. 21.

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